How to achieve a suc­cu­lent turkey

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

There’s noth­ing like a turkey at Christ­mas – un­less, of course you are haunted by mem­o­ries of dry, stringy flesh and a fridge full of left­overs that no one ever seemed to want.

Fol­low our tips and you will be gob­bling down the most suc­cu­lent, juicy turkey ever to grace your Christ­mas ta­ble.

Turkey tips

A 4-5kg turkey will feed about 15-20 peo­ple with some left­overs.

Buy­ing a frozen turkey? Re­mem­ber to give it enough time to de­frost. A 4-5kg bird can take three or four days to thaw.

Wor­ried about it dry­ing out? You can brine the turkey first (recipe be­low), in­sert but­ter be­tween the skin and breast, or cook the bird breast-side down (this means your turkey won’t look as per­fect when you bring it to the ta­ble).

As a gen­eral guide, cook your turkey for 30 min­utes per kilo in a 180C oven (a 4kg turkey will take 2 to 21⁄ hours. Cover the breast with foil for the first hour to help keep it moist.

Rest the turkey for at least 20 min­utes (and up to 45 min­utes) be­fore carv­ing.

Cover it with a tent of foil with a few holes in it to make sure the skin stays crisp.

Brined turkey

4.5kg-5.5kg frozen or fresh turkey, with giblets re­moved About 6.5 litres water 115g-125g non-iodised salt 1-2 Tbsp black pep­per­corns 1-2 Tbsp ju­niper berries 2-3 whole cloves 1-2 whole star anise Peel of one orange, dried (night be­fore in a low oven)

un­waxed le­mon, sliced 90g-100g caster su­gar 3-4 Tbsp good-qual­ity maple syrup 1 gen­er­ous sprig of fresh rose­mary 2 bay leaves

The turkey must be com­pletely sub­merged in the brine. An oven bag in a large vegetable crisper of a re­frig­er­a­tor is a good fit for this size turkey.

The amount of salt can be re­duced with­out any loss of ten­der­ness but if the lesser amount is used, re­duce the spices as well. Put all ingredients in the bag, and stir well.

Add the turkey and more water if nec­es­sary.

Close the bag and keep re­frig­er­ated for three days, check­ing that the water level doesn’t over­flow as the turkey thaws.

Re­move af­ter three days, drain, pat dry and leave un­cov­ered in the re­frig­er­a­tor un­til cook­ing time. This will give you dry crisp skin and moist ten­der meat.

To cook, heat the oven to 220C. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roast­ing rack in a roast­ing pan. (Op­tional: Brush the turkey with melted but­ter, olive oil or a lit­tle maple syrup.) Put it in the oven.

Af­ter 30 min­utes, turn the turkey so the breast is fac­ing up. Re­duce the oven tem­per­a­ture to 160C.

Re­turn the turkey to the oven and roast un­til a thermometer in­serted in the deep­est part of the thigh but not touch­ing the bone, reads 71C (about 23⁄ hours of to­tal roast­ing).

Re­move from the oven and trans­fer it to a warm carv­ing plate. Tent loosely with foil and let it stand for at least 30 min­utes.

Fairfax NZ

STUFFED TURKEY: Roast turkey in­clud­ing stuffed legs is a must-have food item on Christ­mas Day.

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