Success! There is really only one way to describe our brined, roasted and stuffed turkey. Moist, flavoursome and delicious. Appreciated by our guests. And most importantly completely demolished. Always a good sign. A most fitting finale for my Christmas recipe posts.
There is absolutely no doubt about it. Brining works. A very well-kept secret. It’s far less daunting than it sounds. All the work is in the preparation. Roasting the turkey is a snap. Here’s how I did it. The photos show the process. The recipes as always are towards the bottom of the post.
First thing in the morning I removed the turkey from the brine and sat it in a sink full of cold water for 15 minutes to flush out any excess salt. Then drained it well and patted it inside and out with paper towels. To help achieve a crispy skin when roasted.
Next step? Preparing the stuffing. I used caramelised onions, apples, sage, chicken stock and toasted, crumbled bread.
Remember to preheat the oven to 180 C. Best to do this while stuffing and trussing the turkey.
Set the turkey on a bed of vegetables to roast with a cup or so of stock. These vegetables will form the basis of a great gravy.
Brush the turkey liberally with butter.Cover with tin foil and roast for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes or so. Remove the tin foil for the final 30 minutes to crisp the skin.
The result? Tender moist turkey. With a crispy skin. Not salty at all. And neither were the stuffing or the gravy. This method for roasting a turkey is definitely a keeper in our house.
From our family table to yours, we wish you all a wonderful and delicious Christmas.
HOW TO ROAST AND STUFF A TURKEY
This method works equally well for either a brined or non brined turkey. For brining instructions refer to my previous post. To maximise flavour I like to roast my turkey on a bed of vegetables. This also provides a great base for a fantastic gravy.
Roasting time: about 2 hours ( 1 1/2 hours under a tin foil tent, 1/2 hour uncovered)
Resting time before carving : at least 30 minutes
1 free range turkey, weighing approx 4 – 5 kg
1 quantity of your favourite stuffing, I used Caramelised Onion, Apple and Sage, recipe follows below.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chicken stock
For the Bed of Vegetables
2 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1 leek, trimmed and sliced lengthwise
2 carrots, sliced lengthwise
2 sticks of celery, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, bruised
small handful of herbs; I used parsley, sage and thyme
drizzle of olive oil
For the Gravy
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 cup red or white wine
4 cups hot chicken stock
pan juices and vegetables
Roasting and Stuffing the Turkey
TAKE turkey out of the fridge at least 1/2 hour before roasting. Pat inside and out with paper towels.
PREHEAT oven to 180 C and arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven.
PREPARE the stuffing. Loosely fill the small neck cavity with stuffing. Fold neck skin under body and fasten with a skewer. Loosely fill large body cavity with stuffing. Using your fingers gently loosen and prise open skin over the breast of the turkey. Fill with a thin layer of stuffing to protect the breast while roasting.
TUCK wing tips back and underneath breast. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine.
PILE all the vegetables and herbs into the centre of a roasting pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Arrange into an even layer. This is the vegetable bed upon which the turkey will roast.
TRANSFER turkey, breast side up, to the roasting pan. Place on the vegetable bed.
RUB turkey all over with softened butter and season. If the turkey has been brined season with pepper only, no sea salt.
POUR chicken stock into the pan. Cover turkey breast with a sheet of baking paper and then cover the whole roasting tin with a tent of tin foil.
ROAST turkey for 30 minutes. Baste with pan juices, lifting foil and baking paper. Continue roasting and basting every 30 minutes thereafter until juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thigh. About 2 hours for a 4 – 5 kg turkey. Remove tin foil for the last 30 minutes of roasting to achieve a brown and crisp skin.
IF pan juices evaporate to a glaze while roasting, add a little more chicken stock to the pan.
REMOVE the turkey from the oven. Transfer to a platter, cover with tin foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
MEANWHILE make the gravy.
Making the Gravy
USING a spoon remove most of the fat from the roasting pan.
PLACE the pan on the stove over medium heat. Add flour to the pan. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate with the pan juices and vegetables. Break the soft vegetables up as you go.
DEGLAZE the pan with the wine. When the alcohol has cooked away add the hot chicken stock.
BRING the pan to the boil, scraping up any bits that are catching on the bottom. Reduce heat and simmer until the gravy thickens to a good pouring consistency. About 10 minutes.
STRAIN the gravy through a sieve into a clean bowl. Discard any vegetables and herbs left behind.
SEASON to taste and pour into a gravy boat.
Caramelised Onion, Apple and Sage Stuffing
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups onion, chopped
6 cups stale bread, baked in oven until golden and crumbled
3 green apples, peeled, quartered and finely sliced
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme , leaves stripped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock or more to moisten
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
MELT butter and olive oil in a small fry pan on low heat.
SAUTÉ onion with brown sugar, thyme and a generous pinch of salt for 10 minutes or until softened and caramelised.
IN A SEPARATE bowl, combine caramelised onion with crumbled bread, apple, and herbs.
ADD egg and enough chicken stock to moisten. Season well with salt and pepper.