“Don’t have a christ-mess and overdo the turkey this year, there’s nothing worse than the star of the show being overdone and dry. My recipe below will help you make a foolproof centrepiece for your Christmas spread. That way, you can sit back after a successful meal and celebrate with a few cheeky drinks and Gin-gle all the way.”
(I used a 2.5kg one, the wrapper said XL on it)
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
Hand full of peppercorns
1 bar of unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 large orange
1. Firstly, we need to create a brine, this is to make the turkey meat stay moist and not dry out. This needs to be done a day ahead of cooking for the best results.
2. In a large stock pan (one big enough to hold your turkey crown or use a smaller pan and pour into a container afterwards) put 1 litre of water and bring to a boiling point. Into this put 2/3 rosemary sprigs, 2/3 thyme sprigs, 200g salt, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves. Boil for 15 minutes until infused. Then to this mixture, add another 2/3 litres of cold water. This is now the brine, so place in the turkey and top up with extra water until full covered and place in the fridge overnight.
3. When you are ready to cook the turkey take it out of the brine and pat the skin dry with a tea towel.
4. Mix together the whole block of butter with a handful of the fresh thyme, as well as a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Once mixed, make a pocket with your hand under the skin of the turkey and place half the butter in there massaging it about to make sure it covers over all the meat, the other half massage into the top side of the skin. Finally slice the orange in half and place inside the turkey.
5. Now the prep is done, it’s time to cook. Cooking times will vary according to the weight of your turkey or turkey joint (most places put the time on the packaging now), but as a guide it is a good idea to allow 20 minutes per kg, plus 70 minutes if the bird or joint is under 4Kg or plus 90 minutes if it is over 4kg.
6. Wrap the turkey in baking parchment, then in foil with the seams of both being at the top so you can open it up when required. Set your oven to 180c and cook for the duration of the kg time. Then for the final 70 minutes, open up the foil and base the turkey every 20 minutes to get a nice crisp skin on the outside. Within that 70 minutes, at intervals, take your meat thermometer and put it into the large flesh bit as deep and close to the bone without touching as you can. When it reads 73c-74c the turkey is ready.
7. Finally, take the turkey out of the oven and loosely cover with the foil, allowing the crown time to rest (15-20mins) before carving and serving.