I don’t know why but when Christmas season comes along, I can smell turkey EVERYWHERE, it’s like my body wants it so much it fools me into thinking they even sell it at Mc D. I know everyone is trying to go all modern and edgy and change the turkey for other proteins in their Christmas dinners but HELLO turkey is not replaceable, not in my table at least! If you want to cook turkey AND pork, fine by me, but there has to be some turkey, and have, of course, next to it its best friend or ever and ever till pigs fly: the gravy.
For this recipe I only used a small turkey crown (2kg approx.) because we were only four at dinner, but of course you can make this recipe for a 4, 6, 8kg turkey as you need. I’ll also tell you how cooking times vary between them so you have the best possible result.
To ensure the turkey is moist, we will constantly bathe it as it cooks with a recipe that includes some fruit juice, soy sauce and chicken stock. You can either home-make the stock for cooking the chicken (which is what I did and I will show you) or either skip the step if you’re really in a hurry and use 1 chicken cube diluted in 500ml water. However, I must say there is a difference in flavour. This stock I use for this recipe, the sweet potatoes and the rice, so if you’re doing my whole menu, you might want to double this recipe.
IngredientsFor the chicken stock:
– 6 chicken drumsticks or wings
– 200g carrot, sliced to 1cm
– 200g onion, chopped large, approx. like the carrot
– 100g celery, chopped to 1cm sticks
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 sprig rosemary
– cold water to top up
For the turkey:
– Juice from 5 oranges
– Juice from 3 lemons
– 3 tbsp soy sauce
– 300ml from recipe above
*Note that this recipe is the same for 1-5kg turkey, then times 1.5 for 6-8 and 9+ double.
For the gravy
– 1 tbsp cornflour every 500ml of sauce
1. 24h before cooking the turkey, marinade it in the fridge with the orange juice, lemons and soy sauce. Bathe it as constantly as you can outside and inside too. I did it every 1hr except the hours I was asleep, because of course, hahaha. If you have a complete turkey, make sure you tie the legs together at the back so that then you can serve it in a nice shape if you plan to take it whole to the table, or they will completely separate. Same for the wings.2. Then, we need to make the stock by putting everything in our large pot. Remember the water should be enough to cover the ingredients.
3. Let it simmer for two hours. It should not boil profusely or it will evaporate before you can do anything with it! During this time, the chicken and veg will start to release some fat, which you must remove constantly so your stock is nice and clear. I’ll leave you a before and after:
4. Once the time has gone by, pass it through a fine mesh and you’ll have your stock ready to use
5. If your amazon delivery doesn’t fail you like mine did, inject the turkey with the stock in several places so you ensure that the flesh is going to remain moist, as turkey tends to dry out. If not, my last minute solution although not ideal was to make cuts in the flesh so that when I bathed it in the oven the juices also went through the meat. Put a bit of butter on top and into the oven at 200C for 30min (30min for 1-3kg turkey, 1h 4-7kg, 1h20min 8-10kg). Bathe as often as you can with a spoon all over.
6. After this time your turkey should look like the picture below. Now cover in tin foil and put again in the oven at 180C this time. Now there’s no need to bathe it. How do you know it’s cooked so you don’t end up with raw turkey or rather overcooked, hard turkey? My honest recommendation is that you get yourself a temperature reader, and as soon as it hits 74C inside (trying several parts) stop because it’s cooked and all possible bacteria have been killed. If you do not have access to one, you could either sense by touch (it should offer much more resistance than at first, but should let you poke it a bit and bounce back. Do not let it get to completely firm. The last way you could know it’s done is by telling how long it’s in the oven, even though it varies from oven to oven. 1-2kg turkey should take around 30min in this stage, 1hr for 3-4kg, 1hr 30min for 5-6kg, 2h from 7-8kg, 2h30min for 9-10kg.
7. To make the gravy, pass all the juices form the turkey through a strainer and into a pot. Dilute the cornflour in a bit of cold water on the side and then add to the juice. Wait until it boils for a minute so it reaches its maximum thickness. Adjust to your taste by adding more diluted cornflour if needed.
8. Make sure the turkey rests at least 30min-1hour depending on the size before you carve it or all the juices will drain out. When you get to carve the turkey, make sure you take the breasts whole before you cut it into slices so you get some nice whole ones :).
Serve pretty and enjoy!!