I often read in American foodie articles that turkey is an exceptionally economical meat, so it is odd that it doesn’t really feature over here in Sunny SA. Occasionally I see enormous smoked turkey legs for consumption by dogs, and of course there are those monumental frozen beasts which show up in supermarkets at this time of year. I ordered a turkey and avo toastie recently at a cafe and it turned out to contain a slender, barely-discernible sliver of turkey lunch-meat – I guess it’s a by-product of what is left after they remove the legs for smoking?
I wanted to make a festive nibble using all the flavours associated with a more traditional Christmas. It is too hot, fellow South Africans, to roast a turkey and boil sprouts. Stop it immediately, fetch a cold beer and get a braai going in close proximity to a swimming pool. These little cuties require no cooking, just a few minutes of assembly, and if you cut them out in pretty star-shapes they will automatically taste better (because us human beans are shallow and eat with our eyes – a fact to be taken advantage of by cooks everywhere).
I will not give a recipe with quantities this time, since it would be akin to typing out a recipe for “cheese sandwich” or “glass of water”. It’s that easy.
Right. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (ok I lied about “no cooking”. But strictly speaking this is really just “toasting”).
Using a cutter (or a sharp knife and your own creativity), punch shapes out of slices of bread. I used mini pitas that I found mooching around in the back of the freezer, but regular white sliced would work well, if not better. Pave them out in a single layer on a baking sheet, give them a light sprinkle of olive oil and pop them into the oven for a few minutes to lightly toast them. This gives a nice textural contrast to the final product and allows for a sturdier base. Allow them to cool down on the sheet after baking. If the kitchen is quite hot, have some beer to cool the feverish brow.
Then, cut out the same number of stars out of turkey loaf slices. I guess you could use chicken loaf or regular plain ol’ ham but I felt the need to cram as much Christmas-ness into this as possible, as an attempt to make up for my complete lack of motivation to actually cook.
Slice brie or camembert thickly – half a centimetre or so – and cut out smaller stars. The rind will make some stars of a white side which is a nice contrast in colour.
That’s all the hard work done. Have a swig of beer as a reward.
Next, assemble the stars: toast, turkey, cheese. Blob on cranberry sauce (um. I forgot to get cranberry sauce but sweet chilli sauce worked well, although marginally less traditional). Aren’t they nunu? Have another beer.