Choosing the perfect Christmas turkey (and using up the left-overs)

Here at Pig Row choosing the right turkey is a simple formula,we plump for one that has had a good life.

Over the past few years we haven't been able to guarantee this, so we have stuck to free range chickens apart from one memorable year when we had an amazing rib of beef.  We believe that it is better to have less meat and eat good quality products that have had a better quality of life, now and again. We also plan our meals carefully to ensure that nothing goes to waste, so we personally feel o.k about eating meat from time to time. We want to know that Trotsky or Tracey have had a great time, that they have run around, chased the farmer, scratched and bathed, and eaten well.  A good life makes for a happier bird and a happier bird is a tastier one.  

The Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association have a similar mindset. Over 50 independent farmer members supply free-range,  free-range bronze and barn reared turkeys, which although are reared specifically for the festive season are grown to full maturity and to the highest welfare standards. The Association was formed in 1984 by farmers who woudn’t settle for second best when it comes to growing and preparing Christmas turkeys. Their 'Golden Turkey's' are dry plucked, usually by hand and then hung like a game bird for at least seven days. The turkeys are processed in keeping with proven traditional practice to ensure the finest texture and flavour for the most special meal of the year. When we heard of them we knew that they had to be first choice for our Christmas dinner.

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Each bird has a Quality Assurance Guarantee, so that you know that you are not mistakenly buying mass produced, wet plucked, previously frozen or imported product.  In addition they were the first product in the UK to gain recognition with a designation for ‘Traditional Speciality Guaranteed.’  When you consider the lengths that the EU legislation goes to in protecting food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis this is a huge achievement. 

So yes, we will be having a turkey this Christmas and we are busy planning our leftover meals already.  Andrew has put a vote in for Bridget Jones style turkey curry on Boxing Day, but we also plan on trying these lovely sounding Quesadilla's.

Mexican Turkey Quesadilla's
Serves 4
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What you will need:

4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
A small handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 small yellow pepper, deseeded and diced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 vine tomatoes, chopped
300g cooked turkey, skinned and shredded
250g grated mature cheddar cheese
60g jalapeno chillies, roughly chopped
3 tbsp sour cream
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil, for frying
8 flour tortillas

For the tomato salsa:
4 vine tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper

For the guacamole
2 ripe avocados
2tbsp of lime juice
1tbsp of olive oil
1 red onion peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper

How to make them:

Mix all of the ingredients together, except the tortillas and oil, season with sea salt and black pepper.

Lay out 4 tortillas and divide the mixture between them, covering the whole of the tortilla. Top with the remaining tortilla and press down.

To make the tomato salsa, mix all of the tomato salsa ingredients together, stir lightly and season well with sea salt and black pepper.

To make the guacamole; halve the avocados, remove the stones and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash with a fork, add lime juice, olive oil, onion, garlic and chilli. Check seasoning, cover with cling film and store in the fridge.

Heat a frying pan, add the oil and carefully place a quesadilla onto the pan and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden.  Carefully turn the quesadilla over and cook on the other side for a further 2 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Remove from the pan and set aside to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining quesadillas.

One last thing to note is that you won't find Golden Turkeys in your local supermarket.  So take the opportunity to Shop Local and ask your local farm shop or quality butcher if they are stockists.  There is a handy map online if you are struggling. Don't delay Christmas is approaching quickly, don't risk on being disappointed, from experience beans on toast on the big day can be quite an anticlimax.

For more information visit

We have been given a turkey by the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association free of charge as a thank you for writing about their products.  However all opinions and values are our own. This is not a sponsored article, we genuinely wanted to raise awareness of the association as we know finding free range, high quality turkey's is quite difficult.

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