“ Brand: Iceland / Type: Meat „
PRICE: £4 for 600g, serves 3-4
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per 100g, oven baked):
(of which sugars): 0.2g
(of which saturates): 1.3g
Turkey breast, water, white vinegar, cornflour, salt, turkey extract, sodium diphosphates & triphosphates, sage extract, onion extract, pepper extract, breadcrumbs, wheat flour, yeast, rusk, ammonium hydrogen carbonate, dried onion, onion powder, herbs, sage extract, turkey skin
Made in a production area where no nuts are present
Although every effort has been taken to remove all bones, some may remain
Because I live alone, if I bought a whole turkey at Christmas time, I'd still be eating it well into the summer, so it's always a good idea for me to buy either a small portion of turkey, or a ready-prepared frozen turkey joint. I opted for the latter this year, buying a ready-stuffed version from Iceland.
Iceland Turkey Breast Joint is packed into a thick metal deep dish which is sealed over the top with a thin, clear plastic film. There is a purple and lilac coloured card sleeve around the container which shows a very delicious-looking serving of a cooked stuffed turkey joint on the front. The rear of the card sleeve shows nutritional information, ingredients list, dietary/allergy advice, storage/freezing instructions, advice that the outer sleeve can be recycled, and Iceland's quality claim together with their contact details. The cooking instructions are on one side of the sleeve.
The product description claims that the turkey joint is made from breast, and is intended to serve 3 or 4 people. It is also claimed that the joint can be cooked from frozen, which is what I did - all the outer packaging first needs to be removed (including the plastic film on the top of the carton), and then cover the top of the container with tin foil. The meat must be cooked in a pre-heated oven (gas mark 6/200C/400F) for 45 minutes then left to stand (when removed from the oven) for 10 minutes before carving.
I cooked mine from frozen, but one thing which puzzled me as regards the instructions on the packet, is that if you are cooking it from frozen, it only needs to be in the oven for 45 minutes, but if you are defrosting it prior to cooking, then the roasting time states 55 minutes! Am I missing something, or are these instructions the wrong way around?
The breast of turkey before cooking, looks like any other and you can't actually see the stuffing. There is a thin film of turkey skin over the top, and the joint is of a good size. It does state serves 3 to 4 on the pack, but in its raw state, I'd have estimated that it could have produced at least 5 or 6 portions.
During the cooking process, the most divine Christmas dinner smell emanated from the oven, permeating the kitchen and my nose, to the point where I was getting quite excited at what I was soon to eat. This smell was largely produced by the roasting turkey - an aroma of succulence and meatiness.
Once the meal was cooked and ready to serve, I was too impatient to let the turkey joint stand for the recommended 10 minutes before carving - I just got stuck in, and found that the meat sliced very easily - plus, there was a nice dose of meat juice in the bottom of the metal container that I was able to make my gravy with. Cutting the turkey revealed the stuffing, which was a dull grey colour, and it didn't seem to give off any noticeable smell - maybe the beautiful smell of the turkey was so powerful that it swamped everything else!
Bearing in mind my huge appetite, I found 4 stuffed slices from the turkey joint to be ample for my solo Christmas dinner, and on the plate next to the roast potatoes and vegetables, it looked absolutely delicious - a lovely white colour with no bloody pink bits in the middle; the whole thing was cooked right through to perfection. Even though the stuffing was greyish, that didn't detract from the overall effect. I did remove the turkey skin first and discarded it, as it's not something I like - but, it had gone nice and crispy.
I settled to eat and hoped that the turkey tasted as delicious as it looked and smelled. I cut a piece from one of the slices on my plate, making sure it had a dollop of stuffing attached so that I could taste them together.
Once inside my mouth and on chewing, I felt that the consistency of the turkey wasn't quite right - there was something about the texture which reminded me of reconstituted stuff, even though I'm sure it wasn't. There was a slightly rubbery sensation as I continued to chew, and I didn't quite get much of a turkey flavour at all. In fact, the meat was pretty bland.
Inside of my mouth, the stuffing tasted rather strange and musty, and as I swallowed the first mouthful of turkey and stuffing together, I experienced a slightly unpleasant after-taste, which I feel came from the stuffing - not the turkey. I decided that I really wasn't keen on the overall flavour of the stuffing as it tasted sort of earthy, a bit like stale mushrooms.
Nonetheless, I did eat everything up, and there was plenty of turkey left for another two meals. I left the remains to cool, then refrigerated, wondering if it would taste better (and the stuffing too) cold the next day.
For my evening meal on Boxing Day, I cut 4 slices from the cold turkey joint, serving with jacket potato and salad. Once cold, all the smell had left the turkey, but it did look good on the plate. I usually find that the flavour of poultry is stronger when it's served cold, but in this case, it wasn't to be. There was still hardly any turkey flavour, but I didn't get the sensation I'd had the day before where it felt as if it had been reconstituted. This time, the consistency was exactly how turkey should be. The cold stuffing really was quite horrible - it had gone hard, and still bore that not very nice, earthy sort of under-taste. I pushed the stuffing to the side of my plate (in readiness for the rubbish bin) and concentrated on the turkey, which though tasteless, was at least edible.....then....came something which really put me off. As I began to chew on the final mouthful, my teeth chomped onto something I loathe.....gristle! It was a large piece too, and I quickly had to deposit it somewhere as far away from my mouth as possible. If I'd have had the gristle in the first mouthful as opposed to the last, it would have put me off eating the turkey altogether, and I decided that the best place for what was left in the fridge, was either the dustbin or in next door's cat's food dish (I opted for the latter of those, and it resulted in one happy cat, so I'd done my Christmas good deed at least!).
I really don't think I'll be buying my turkey joint from Iceland next year. I really want to say it was beautiful because it smelled so delicious whilst it was cooking and it did look appetising on my plate, but I'm afraid it the whole experience was badly let down by a distinct lack of turkey flavour, poor tasting and poor consistency stuffing, then the final and ultimate let-down for me - the horrid big glob of gristle at the end.
So Iceland....I'm sorry but you only get two stars....and those are for the appearance and the smell. Next year I'll go to Waitrose or M&S.
Thanks for reading!