Turkey is a must-have dish for Christmas dinner in many family households, including the non-Christian.
To brine the turkey
9 litres cold water
4 cups sugar
3 cups coarse salt
¼ cup coriander seeds
¼ cup black peppercorns
3 heads garlic, halved
10 sprigs rosemary
3 lemons, halved
- Put 1 litre the water in a large pot and bring to boil. Add the sugar and salt, stir until it dissolved. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns, garlic, rosemary and lemons then remove from the heat.
- Pour the hot brine into a large container follow by the remaining 8 litres of cold water to cool it down. Place the turkey into the brine and ensure it is entirely submerged.
- Cover the container tightly and keep it in the fridge for overnight.
For the turkey
1 whole turkey, brined
Porcini, chestnut and sausage stuffing
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Carrots, celery & onions
- Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry the skin with towel.
- Truss the turkey with butcher’s twine and stuff with carrots, celery and onions.
- Preheat oven to 230c. Fold a piece of cheesecloth (about 3 feet long) into third, place inside turkey cavity, open up then fill in the stuffing then tuck in ends to close.
- Tuck wings underneath the turkey, and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Brush turkey all over with butter, and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the turkey into oven to roast, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes. If the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy. Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven.
- After this third hour of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth. Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 1 more hour, basting after 30 minutes.
- After this fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach 180 degrees (stuffing should be between 140 degrees and 160 degrees) and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
- When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest for about 30 minutes.Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off.
- Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup dry red or white wine, or water, to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the pan until liquid boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from pan. Add giblet stock to pan. Stir well, and bring back to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes more. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of gravy. Season to taste, strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.