This sweet, herb-brined turkey makes an impressive centerpiece for any festive meal. The delicious pan drippings create the base of a gorgeous inventive gravy.
What is Brining? This method has become popular over the last few years and involves immersing the turkey in a salt-water solution or dry-brining in salt for a day or so before cooking. The end result of this process is moist, perfectly seasoned white and dark meat. We’ve had great results with brining and heartily endorse it. If you want to brine, great! If you don’t, our method here will still work perfectly.
For the Glaze
- 3/4 cup good quality salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 (5-6kg) fresh turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved
For Roasting the Turkey
- 1/2 onion, peeled and cut in half
- 1 large red apple, quartered
- 1 garlic bulb, halved
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup coconut oil or other oil of choice
For the Gravy
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Reserved turkey neck and giblets
- 1 brown onion, unpeeled and chopped
- 1 carrot, unpeeled and diced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup Riesling
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 stems fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add salt, honey, broth, peppercorns and rosemary in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until needed.
About 6 to 8 hours before you plan to roast your turkey, place brine mixture in a large clean bucket, stock pot or cooler and stir in 3.5L of ice water. Place turkey in the bucket, breast side down, cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Make sure the turkey is fully submerged, adding more ice water if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 230°C. Remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly, inside and out, with cool water; pat dry. Discard brine solution. Season turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff turkey with onion, apple, garlic and rosemary. Place on a roasting rack set inside a large roasting pan and tuck the wings back. Brush the entire turkey with oil.
Cover breast portion with foil and place turkey on lowest rack in oven and roast 30 minutes, then turn heat down to 180°C and roast 2 to 2 1/2 hours longer, until a thermometer reads 75°C when inserted between the breast and thigh without touching the bone. Remove foil from breast about 45 minutes before the turkey is done. Remove turkey from pan, place on a platter and tent with foil. Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before carving.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add turkey neck and giblets, onions and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Strain, discarding the solids, and refrigerate broth until ready to use.
While turkey rests, pour pan drippings into a measuring cup and freeze for 15 minutes. Skim off any fat. Heat roasting pan over medium heat and add Riesling, scraping up any browned bits. Pour in giblet broth and skimmed pan drippings and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk in butter until melted, then whisk in flour. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Stir in chopped herbs and add salt and pepper to taste.