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Roast Turkey with Rosemary Brine
4kg whole turkey, including neck and giblets 2 tbsp butter, softened, or extra virgin olive oil 1 onion, halved 6 cups water 2 tbsp cornflour 2 tbsp lemon juice fine white pepper, to taste Rosemary Brine ½ cup sugar 1 cup salt 2 tbsp black peppercorns 6-8 sprigs rosemary 8 bay leaves finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons 4 cups boiling water 16 cups cold water
© Annabel Langbein Media
To make 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 turkey, reserving neck and giblets for gravy. Cover and chill for 12-24 hours. If you can’t fit your turkey in the fridge while it brines, tip turkey and brine into a large clean plastic bag and pack in ice in a chilly bin.
Preheat oven to 160˚C fanbake. Lift turkey out of brine and pat dry inside and out. Tie legs loosely, tuck wings under and place in a large roasting dish. Rub skin all over with butter or brush with oil. Cook for 2 hours at 160˚C, then increase heat to 200˚C and cook until a cooking thermometer inserted into the thigh shows 75˚C, or the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thigh (about 30 minutes). If it starts to brown too quickly, cover those parts loosely with tin foil.
Transfer cooked turkey to a serving platter breast-side down to allow the juices to run back into the breast, cover with tin foil and a teatowel 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.
If stuffing your turkey, increase the cook time by half an hour and insert the cooking thermometer into the centre of the stuffing to make sure it reaches 75˚C. Try my Quinoa Stuffing, Bacon, Herb and Hazelnut Stuffing, Apricot and Pine Nut Stuffing or Spiced Orange Stuffing.
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