Recipe: Juicy Roast Turkey

Posted by Hedi Schreiber on

Ingredients

  • 10 lb / 5kg whole turkey , thawed (plain not pre brined) (Note 1)

DRY BRINE RUB:

  • 2.5 tbsp salt (Note 2)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme , or other herb of choice
  • 1 tsp paprika , sweet or ordinary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

FOR ROASTING

  • 150g / 10 tbsp unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 tbsp (in total) sage, rosemary and thyme , finely chopped (Note 3)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 heads of garlic , halved horizontally
  • 1 onion , halved (brown, yellow, white)
  • 2 small bunch mixed herbs , sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley (optional, Note 3)
  • 1.5 cups / 375 ml dry white wine , or water (Note 4)
  • Salt & pepper

GRAVY (~ 4 CUPS/1L)

  • 4 cups (1 litre) chicken broth / stock , low sodium
  • 5 tbsp (60g) flour , plain / all purpose
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

DRY BRINING PREPARATION.

  • Rub: Mix together the Rub.
  • Prep Turkey: Pat the turkey dry with paper towels., inside and out. Remove giblets or anything else inside the turkey. (Note 5)
  • Sprinkle: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt inside and use you hand to spread it (roughly is fine). Turn the turkey upside down, then rub 1 teaspoon of the salt mixture on the underside.
  • Turn the turkey upright and rub the remaining salt on the turkey, using most on the breast - even some under the skin if you can.
  • Wrap turkey mummy-like in lots of cling wrap or place the turkey in a sealable plastic bag (Note 6).

BRINING (NOTE 7):

  • Place turkey upside down in baking pan. Refrigerate.
  • 24 hours later: Flip turkey so it's right side up.
  • 24 (to 48 hours) later: unwrap turkey. The skin should be moist but not wet. If wet, pat dry. Leave out for 30 min before roasting.

PREPARE FOR ROASTING:

  • Preheat oven to 220C/425F (standard) or 200C/390F (fan).
  • Place the onions and garlic in a roasting pan. Place a roasting rack on top - if you have one (Note 8 for sub).
  • Stuff bunch of herbs + 2 garlic halves + 3 tbsp butter (45g) inside the turkey. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine (optional). 
  • Place turkey UPSIDE DOWN on the rack. Twist the wings so they are on top - see video. Brush with a bit of melted butter. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and pepper.
  • Pour wine in roasting pan.

ROASTING:

  • Roast for 30 minutes.
  • Use a tea towel to turn the turkey over. Brush with butter, sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and pepper.
  • Turn oven down to 165C/325F (standard) or 150C/300F (fan). Roast turkey 45 minutes.
  • Mix remaining butter with garlic and herbs. Brush turkey generously with butter.
  • Roast turkey for a further 30 minutes or until a) the thermometer that comes with the turkey pops up (America) b) a thermometer inserted between the breast and leg reads 165F/75C. (Notes 9, 10). Cover loosely with foil if browning too much.
  • Remove turkey onto serving plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 30 minutes before transferring to platter for presentation and carving (see in post for styling idea).
  • Serve turkey with gravy and/or Cranberry Sauce.

TURKEY GRAVY

  • Place roasting pan (with garlic, onion etc still in it) on the stove over medium high heat. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add broth and use a potato masher to mash the onion and garlic into the mixture. Use a wooden spoon to scrap the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened.
  • Strain into a bowl, pressing down to extract all the flavour out of the onion and garlic. Transfer to gravy boat.

 Recipe Notes:

1. TURKEY needs to be thawed.

* Thaw in fridge (long thaw) – allow 24 hours for every 1.5 – 2 kg / 3 – 4 lb of turkey (my 5.5 kg/11 lb turkey took 3 days)

* Fast thaw in water – 30 minutes per 500g / 1 lb. Turkey needs to be in a leak proof bag / wrapping. Submerge in large sink of water, keep it submerged. Change water every 30 minutes.

Rub can be applied to partially thawed turkey as long as skin is pliable enough to rub salt in. Add 1 tsp extra salt. Expect lots of juices from the thaw/brining process - ensure turkey is patted dry before roasting. As it brines, liquid may be red from blood from the inside of the turkey thawing - do not worry. Won't affect end result at all. Do not rinse, just pat dry with paper towels.

DO NOT:

* Use this recipe for "self basting" or pre marinated turkeys, will be too salty. Check ingredients or nutrition - if there's salt or flavourings, the turkey has already been brined. Typically these include boxed and frozen turkeys at the supermarkets in Australia.

**See HOW TO COOK PRE-BRINED TURKEY box below recipe.**

2. SALT - Use 1 tbsp salt for every 2 kg / 4 lb turkey. Use kosher / cooking salt. If using fine grain table salt, reduce by 1/4 tsp PER 1 tbsp of salt called for in the recipe. Do not use salt flakes (too hard to measure equivalent).

3. HERBS - I used an equal mix of sage, rosemary and thyme to make up 1 tbsp in total for basting partway through cooking. Can also use dried herbs of choice - use 2 tsp. Doesn't sound like much but we don't want to put herbs on the skin until partway though cooking otherwise it just burns. So by the time we baste with the herb butter, there's not much butter left. Just imparts a subtle fragrance more than anything, could even be skipped.

Need one bunch to stuff inside the turkey, the other for the pan.

4. WINE - I use sauvignon blanc, pinot gris (I get discount wine for cooking). Any white wine is fine as long as it's not too sweet or woody / oaky.

5. Giblets are a parcel of turkey offcuts that are usually stuffed inside the turkey and are used to make the gravy. It usually comprises of: neck, heart and liver. Use the neck and heart for turkey gravy.

6. BAG - you can get resealable bags in America that are big enough for turkey. But I've found that cling wrap is the most effective - keeps the brine right up against the turkey skin.

7. BRINE TIME: 48 hours (2 days) is my base recipe, 3 days also great (a bit more seasoned). Even overnight is better than not brining at all! I even did 4 days last year and it not any different to 3 days, from what I could tell.

8. RACK SUB: Need to keep turkey skin elevated out of liquid in pan. Get a long strip of foil, scrunch to make a thick "rope". Loop to make a circle and secure. Place on top of onion, place turkey on top. Just need something to keep turkey a bit elevated off base of pan and the onion. If skin is in contact with onion when upside down, the skin will brown unevenly once you flip.

9. ROASTING TIME:

  • 5kg / 10 lb: 1 hr 45 min – 2 hrs
  • 6 kg / 12 lb: 2 hrs 15 min
  • 7kg / 14 lb: 2 hrs 30 min
  • 8 kg / 16 lb: 2 hrs 45min

Works out at 12 minutes per 500g / 1 lb.

10. INTERNAL TEMP: Insert thermometer between breast and leg. Push straight down, hit bone, then pull back slightly. 

 If you don't have a thermometer (get one! Even a cheap one!), pierce the meat between the leg and breast and if the juices run clear, the turkey is cooked.

Remember, this turkey is brined so there is a bit of leeway with the cooking time even if you overcook it slightly, it will still be moist.


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