( SERVES 10 )
Photo by Annabel Langbein Media
If you have given up on turkey as it comes out dry, this recipe is your game-changer. Brining ensures succulent results every time. To avoid taking up room in the fridge, I usually pour the brine into a big, clean (unscented) plastic bag, add the turkey and sit it in a chilly bin with ice cubes.
For the turkey
|4 kgs||Turkey, whole|
|2 Tbsp||Butter, softened, or extra virgin olive oil|
|2 Tbsp||Lemon juice|
|1 pinch||White pepper, fine, to taste|
For the rosemary brine
- To make the rosemary brine, place all ingredients except cold water in a very large, heatproof pot or bowl and stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Add cold water, then the turkey, reserving neck and giblets for gravy. Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 160C fanbake. Lift turkey out of brine and pat dry inside and out. Tie legs loosely and place in a large roasting dish. Rub skin all over with butter or brush with oil for a dairy-free version. Cook for 2 hours. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover those parts loosely with tin foil. If stuffing your turkey (see recipe on p.37), increase the cook time by 30 minutes.
- Transfer cooked turkey to a serving platter breast-side down to allow the juices to run back into the breast, cover with tinfoil and a tea towel and rest for 15-30 minutes while cooking any vegetables and/or making the gravy.
- While turkey is brining or cooking, prepare the gravy by putting the neck and giblets in a pot with the onion and water. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 30 minutes to reduce. Strain, discarding solids (you should have about 4 cups of stock). You can prepare the gravy to this stage up to 24 hours in advance and chill the stock until needed.
- When the turkey is cooked and you have transferred it to a platter to rest, tip the stock into the unwashed roasting dish and bring to a simmer on the stovetop, stirring to lift pan brownings. Combine cornflour and lemon juice and add to turkey gravy a little at a time, stirring constantly, until gravy starts to thicken. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste and thin with vegetable cooking water if desired. Serve hot with turkey.