Setting aside the jolly man in red the next biggest thing about Christmas for me is the turkey, to the point where one year my parents wanted to make something else and I literally went into toddler tantrum mode “Christmas without turkey, really!”
When on maternity leave I got sucked into the Food Network while baby K and I were home ill on the run up to Christmas and came across this recipe by Nigella Lawson for a ‘Spiced and Super Juicy Roast Turkey‘ and I have to say I’ve made this turkey two years in a row and it’s delicious.
approx. 6 litres water
1 large Orange or 2 smaller (quartered)
250 grams Maldon Salt (or 125g/ 1/2 cup table salt)
3 tbsp Black Peppercorns
1 Bouquet Garni
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 tbsp Caraway Seeds
2 tbsp Allspice Berries
4 Star Anise
2 tbsp White Mustard Seeds
200 grams Sugar
2 Onions (unpeeled and quartered)
1 x 6 cm piece of Fresh Root Ginger (unpeeled and cut into 6 slices)
4 tbsp Maple Syrup
4 tbsp Runny Honey
Stalks from 1 bunch fresh Parsley
1 x 5.5 kg Turkey
75 grams Goose Fat (or butter)
3 tbsp Maple Syrup
- Put the water into your largest cooking pot or a bucket or plastic bin. Squeeze the juice from the orange quarters into the water before you chuck the husks in, then add all the other ingredients, stirring to combine the salt, sugar, syrup and runny honey.
- Remove any string or trussing from the turkey, shake it free, remove the giblets, if not already done, and put them in the fridge (or straight away set about making the stock for the gravy), then add the bird to the liquid, topping up with more water if it is not completely submerged.
- Keep covered in a cold place, even outside overnight or for up to a day or two before you cook it, remembering to take it out of its liquid (and wipe it dry with kitchen paper) 1-2 hours before it has to go into the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6/400F.
- Melt the goose fat (or butter) and maple syrup together slowly over a low heat. Paint the turkey with the glaze before roasting in the oven, and baste periodically throughout the cooking time.
- Roast for 2 1/2 hours. When you think it’s ready, pierce the turkey with the point of a sharp knife where the body meets the leg, and if the juices run clear, it’s cooked; if it’s still pink, cook it for longer until they run clear, or use a meat thermometer.
- Then take the turkey out of the oven, and let it sit, tented with foil, for 20-40 minutes or even longer if you like.
The end result is a deliciously moist and fragrant turkey. How do you cook your turkey?
A little note – This is a recipe by Nigella Lawson which I saw on the Food Network, click here to see the recipe on her website