When did roasting a turkey get so complicated? There are thousands of methods all dedicated to making the star of the Thanksgiving and Christmas table more juicy.
Say turkey to anyone and the first word that comes to mind is dry.
I will let you in on a little secret, or two. I promise you will never eat another dry turkey. Problem one, the legs take longer to cook than the breast, resulting in a dry over cooked bird. I also cook my turkey with plenty of stock, wine and aromatics in the roasting pan. The turkey sits on the rack above and the liquid steams and permeates the bird. I do not brine my bird. In the past I have found no difference in doing so. I never stuff my turkey with stuffing. Dry overcooked stuffing and unsafe. You would have to cook the turkey way past my suggested temperatures. If you love the look, just spoon it in before presenting it. I use a wet marinade 24 hours before cooking, then a compound herb butter and honey glaze.
I cook my turkey until it registers just under 70°c (160°f ).
I cover it with foil and let it rest up to an hour. Perfect for getting all your sides prepared and pouring yourself a lovely glass of wine. The residual cooking time will carry the internal temperature from, 70°c (160°f) to, 74°c (165°f ), the perfect temperature for a juicy, not dry, turkey. I do not truss my turkey as a relaxed bird makes for better heat circulation through the cavity.
In the U.S.A, turkeys come with little pop up timers. Don't ever let them be your guide. The only and most accurate way to test your turkey's doneness is to use a digital thermometer.
After your turkey rests, place it on a platter, I like to decorate my platter with sage, rosemary, a halved pomegranate and orange slices.
Perfect Roast Turkey
Cook Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes to 3 hours
1 Turkey, approximately 4.5 - 5.5 kilos (10 -12 pounds) giblets removed and neck reserved to make stock
For the Turkey on Roasting Day
2 1/2 tbsp. Coarse sea salt
1 tsp. Pepper, preferably freshly ground
1 Onion, roughly chopped
1 Orange, cut in half (optional, I like the flavour in here)
1 Garlic bulbs, whole unpeeled and cut in half
3 Carrots, roughly chopped, can be peeled or not
4 Bay leaves, torn in half
2 tbsp. Tomato paste concentrate
3 tbsp. Red wine vinegar
250 ml. Giblet stock
250 ml. Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Chardonnay or Vinho Verde
To Stuff the Turkey Just Before Roasting
2 Lemons, cut in half
1 Garlic bulb, halved
1 bunch, Thyme, fresh
1 bunch, Rosemary, fresh
1 bunch, Flat leaf parsley, fresh
For the Marinade:
200 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
250 ml. White wine, dry such as Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño or Vinho Verde
3 tbsp. Sweet paprika, pimetón dulce
1 tbsp. Coarse sea salt
8 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 Bay leaves, torn in half
For the Compound Butter
250 g. Unsalted butter
100 ml. Honey, easier from squeezy bottle
4 tbsp. Sweet paprika, pimentón dulce
2 tbsp. Garlic powder
If you want a quick and simple stock, follow the recipe below. If you have time and want a fabulous, more elaborate stock for gravy than follow this link. The Best Easy Turkey Stock
For Simple stock
500 ml. Water
Giblets and neck from turkey
Place in a saucepan and simmer slowly on low heat an hour.
Optional: Feel free to add an onion, carrot, peppercorns or bay leaf to the water if you wish
To make an awesome gravy follow this link Perfect Turkey Gravy
DIRECTIONS: 8 - 24 Hours Before
1. Place turkey in a heavy duty bin/garbage bag and place it in a roasting pan to catch any spills. In a bowl mix together all ingredients for marinade. Pour all over turkey, including inner cavity. Remove as much air as possible from bag and close.
Place turkey on lowest shelf in the refrigerator until next day.
2. Make giblet stock. Refrigerate until needed. Reheat before using.
On Cooking Day, 1 hour before you start roasting.
(I let my bird come to room temperature for an hour before roasting)
1. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for compound butter.
2. In the sink, remove the turkey from the marinade and rinse under cold water. Discard the bag and marinade. Please do not forget to totally sanitise your sink afterwards.
Using a few paper towels, pat dry the turkey. This will help the butter adhere better.
3. With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the turkey, so that you will be able to stuff the compound butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs and thighs. Stuff half the butter mix under the skin. With remaining butter massage all over outside of turkey. In the cavity, place all ingredients from "To Stuff the Turkey Just Before Roasting"
4. In a roasting pan, add all ingredients from "For the turkey on roasting day" to bottom of pan. This will become your delicious pan juices. Place rack in roasting pan. Place turkey on rack.
5. Preheat your oven to 230° ( 450°f ) and place turkey in oven. Roast for about 20 mins. at this temperature to crisp it slightly and give it some colour.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 160° ( 320°f ) Baste the turkey with pan juices. Cover roasting pan with aluminum foil. Roast turkey covered for first hour then uncover and continue to roast the turkey, rotating the pan and basting with pan juices every 30 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches just under 70°about (160°f ). Let Turkey rest loosely tented with aluminum foil.
7. After resting, place on beautifully decorated platter and take it to the table to show it off. There will be lots of smiling faces and oohs and ahhs in amazement! Take turkey back to the kitchen to carve, if the legs are still a little underdone, just place them back in the oven until they reach 74° (165°f ) too.
Remember to save the pan juices and drippings,aka:fat, from the roasting pan. Using a strainer helps keep larger bits out. Save to make gravy.