Tender Christmas turkey
( SERVES 8 )
Photo by Tam West
Roasting the turkey in an oven bag is not only a quick and easy way to go, it will also ensure a moist bird with plenty of juices for a perfectly delicious gravy. A modest size 3 or 4 turkey will feed 8-10 people and will cook more evenly and be more tender than a bigger bird. You will need a size XL oven bag. If you’re not already a convert I recommend you brine the bird first for a succulent result. See how to do it here.
|1 bag||Giblets, including the neck, from the turkey|
|1||Carrot, or celery stick, chopped|
|1 bunch||Parsley stalks|
- To make the giblet stock: Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity, add to a small pot with the chopped carrot or celery stick, onion, parsley stalks, bay leaf and a few peppercorns. Cover with cold water and simmer for 45 minutes to make a quick stock. Strain and reserve.
- To prepare the turkey: If you’ve brined the bird, remove and pat it dry. Season the inside with pepper and salt. Toss the onion and granny smith apple with the garlic cloves, the bunch of fresh herbs and the orange zest and juice, and then fill the cavity.
- Preheat the oven to 170C. Loosening the skin between the breast, liberally add small pieces of butter in and under the skin. If you like a neat bird, fold the wings underneath and tie the ends of the drumsticks together and around the parson’s nose, to loosely close the cavity.
- Drizzle the bird all over with olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper and orange zest. Grease the inside of an XL oven bag and add the bird. Place into a large roasting dish, add 1 cup of the giblet stock (or use wine or apple cider) to the bag, use the perforated plastic tie to close the end, then pierce the top of the bag a few times (to allow steam to escape).
- Roast for 1 hour, then turn down to 130C and continue to cook for approximately 2 more hours, rotating the dish throughout to ensure an even cook and colour. With the lower temperature you’re not really in danger of over-cooking the bird, but use a meat thermometer pressed (through the bag) and into the thigh to check. It should read 85C.
- Remove the turkey from the oven, open the bag and pour off and reserve the juices. Spoon out the contents from the cavity (keeping the cooked garlic for the gravy), then close the bag back up (just tuck it under) and cover with a tea towel. Leave it to rest for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the gravy: Let the juices settle and remove the fat from the liquid. Reheat both fat and juices in separate saucepans. Add 3-4 Tbsp flour to the fat (enough to bind it into a sandy roux), then stir and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- If you’ve used them, mash the cooked garlic cloves (removed from the turkey’s cavity and peeled) into a paste, and stir into the roux.
- Slowly whisk in the hot juices in stages, until you have a velvety sauce that coats the spoon. Season with salt and pepper, add the juice of ½ an orange, strain and serve. You can also just reheat the juices (discard the fat), add orange juice to taste, along with the mashed garlic, then thicken with potato starch or cornflour.