Popular restaurants and catering companies get more than a 100 orders of turkey each on 24 and 25 December every year. They start baking turkeys weeks before and store them in freezers. On same day, it’s stuffed, plated and delivered. No wonder I never liked it!
The secret to a juicy and flavored turkey is to be cooked on same day. It’s not complicated at all. It just takes time in the oven. It’s an easy recipe and is always a hero dish for main events like Christmas.
I like to use a lot of fruits in my recipe to flavor the turkey; it blends nicely with sautéed peas, carrots and sweet potatoes. Delicious!
If you buy a frozen bird, allow at least 24 hours to thaw. And when you take it out from the oven, remember to let it stand for about 30 minutes before carving.
Happy holidays to all!
- 1 (5 to 6kgs) turkey
- 1 orange, cut into wedges
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 1 apple, cut into wedges
- 6 dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried sultanas or cranberries
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1/2 cup of parsley
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1/2 stick (50g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 1 oven bag size Large
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- In a small saucepan over medium heat stir 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the cinnamon, the bay leaves, the onion, the carrots and the parsley, until the onion is cooked and the carrots are tender. Discard cinnamon and bay leaves and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
- To make the turkey: Start with discarding neck and giblets. Rinse the turkey with the wine (or apple juice) over the sink. Don’t rinse with water.
- Mix the oregano, salt and pepper to the butter. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin.
- Put one tablespoon of flour in the oven bag and divide the remaining ingredients (orange, lemon and apple wedges, apricots, sultanas, rosemary and onion mixture) to place some in the main turkey cavity and some in the oven bag.
- Tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey. Put the turkey inside the bag and seal in. Place the turkey inside a roasting pan and position the pan on the lowest rack in the oven. Put 3 cups of water in the pan.
- Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 175 degrees C. And then cook again for about 21/2 hours or according to the weight of the turkey and the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove from oven. Take off the turkey of the bag and return it to the pan. KEEP THE LIQUID TO MAKE THE GRAVY.
- Pour 1 more cup of water into the pan. Continue roasting the turkey about 1 hour longer or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 75 degrees C to 80 degrees C or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.
- Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.
- To make the gravy: Strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the remaining butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with mustard, salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.