Boning a Turkey

Boning a turkey for Christmas lunch makes it much easier to carve, goes further,  allows those who have dislikes to choose a different meat and it looks cool too. A word of warning if you are squeamish - this might not be for you.

You can fill the cavity with your choice of meats but they must fill it to recreate the whole bird.  Sausage meat and stuffing is an ideal base as it is economical with chicken breasts and gammon to accompany or duck breasts, sausages or pork fillet.  You could try to recreate the famous 5 bird roast but boning the legs and wings would leave you reaching for the  brandy or sherry!!

Begin by turning the bird on to its front and find the back bone. Make an incision along one side of the protruding back bone  and gradually scrape down with a sharp knife along the bone and rib cage slicing off all the meat.  Work downwards until you get to the leg or wing joint.  This is a ball and socket which you must twist backwards to break it and release the sinew holding it together with a knife. Repeat  for the wing joint and one side of the carcass will fall free . Turn the bird around and repeat the process on the other side. ( picture 1)

Once the carcass is free from the meat,  legs and wings you will need to cut away the breast bone cartilage by holding up the carcass and letting the rest of the bird dangle in mid air. carefully cut away the skin attached to the breast bone taking care not to puncture it.

You can go on to bone out the legs and wings but in my opinion it is an awful lot of work and you will need to roll the whole turkey up in a sausage rather than returning it to its original shape, thus mixing dark and white meat.

Open up the bird  laying all the skin out flat. firstly add the sausage meat, then any other meats you have chosen to fill the cavity as you can see in  picture 2.  Carefully turn the turkey over and sew up the back where you made the first incision. It can be quite hilarious for anyone watching as it is a 'slippery little sucker' and the filling sometimes shoots out !  Once the back is sown up then return the turkey to its natural position plumping the breast up.  (picture 3)

Cook the turkey as normal going by the new weight as the filling will weigh more than the bones you have taken out.

In a large saucepan place the carcass together with the giblets and cover with water  to make a stock for your gravy and soup. This can be made in advance and frozen.