This turkey is brined before being roasted, ensuring maximum moisture. If you use a turkey that’s larger than 5kg, increase the quantities of the brining ingredients by one-third per each additional 2 kilos. You will need to start this recipe up to 2 days ahead to brine the turkey. If your fridge will not fit the turkey, place it in brine in a large clean esky and pack with ice. Stand in a cool place.
- 125 g table salt
- 35 g (¼ cup) black peppercorns
- 1 bouquet garni (see Note)
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley stems
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 115 g (⅓ cup) maple syrup
- 115 g (⅓ cup) honey
- 2 onions, quartered
- 7.5 cm piece ginger, cut into 6 slices
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 4 cloves
- 2 tbsp allspice berries
- 4 star anise
- 1 tbsp white mustard seeds
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 5 kg turkey (see Note)
- cornbread, cranberry and orange stuffing, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Fill a very large stockpot or clean plastic bucket with 6L water. Add salt, peppercorns, herbs, sugar, maple syrup, honey, onions, ginger and spices. Stir to dissolve salt, sugar, syrup and honey. Squeeze over orange quarters, then add them to brining liquid.
Remove any string attached to turkey and add, breast-side up, to liquid. If turkey is not completely submerged, add more water. Refrigerate turkey for up to 2 days.
Remove turkey from liquid and pat skin and cavity dry with paper towel. Set aside for 40 minutes, to dry.
Preheat oven to 225˚C. Cover turkey with a sheet of greased foil (to prevent breasts from overcooking) leaving sides uncovered, then place in a roasting pan. Roast for 2¾ hours or until juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer. Remove foil for the final 15 minutes of cooking.
Loosely cover turkey with foil and rest for 20 minutes before carving. Serve with cornbread, cranberry and orange stuffing.
Bouquet garni is a bunch of herbs (usually parsley, thyme and bay leaves) tied together with string or placed in a muslin bag, which is used to flavour soups and stews. You can make your own using fresh herbs or you can buy ready-made sachets of dried herbs from supermarkets or spice shops.
Pre-order turkey from a butcher, or if using frozen, thaw in refrigerator for 3 days before placing in brine solution. Substitute fresh or frozen turkey breast (1 kg of breast serves about 5 people) and place in brine overnight.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 16, pg92.
Photography by Alan Benson