Thanksgiving Turkey & Cranberry Sauce
Today I made an early thanksgiving dinner for my clients twho are going away for thanksgiving and still wanted all their favorite nostalgic foods for this American classic holiday.
Having lived in the US for 14 years now, I know how to crush a thanksgiving dins. And went all out this holiday with all the goodness (and naughtiness). But the pièce de résistance was the turkey. And I wanted to share my fool proof Turkey recipe with you all that I have been making for years. So here we go!
This recipe is for a 12-16lb turkey - if you have a bigger one double it, or a smaller one, just cut it down a little.
For the turkey you will need:
1 organic turkey
1 packet organic streaky bacon
1 stick organic salted butter
Handful of fresh sage, finely diced
6-8 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Lashings of Worcestershire sauce
Big guzzle of Olive oil
Maldon flakey sea salt to season the bird
Scrunches of black pepper
1 organic apple to stuff
1 yellow onion to stuff
Extra handful of sage to stuff
Extra handful thyme to stuff
1 bulb garlic to stuff
Mirepoix for the bottom:
2 carrots, chopped in to chunks
4 celery stalks, chopped in to chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped in to chunks
1 cup white wine
1.5 cups organic turkey broth (or chicken if you can’t find)
You should get lots of juice at the bottom of the pan for your turkey. Especially because we added in the white wine and turkey broth before we baked it.
To make the gravy:
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup flour
All the juice from the bottom of the pan (should be about 3-4 cups or more
Extra dash of Worcestershire sauce
Sprinkle of maldon sea salt
In a large pan, add in your butter and melt. Then add in the flour once melted and whisk until a paste forms. This is called a roux.
Now add in your jus from the turkey slowly but surely, whisking as you go.
Once it's all in the pot together, leave it simmering away to thicken which should take around 5-10 minutes or so.
If it's not getting thicker so it coats the back of the spoon after 10 minutes, add in a tablespoon of flour with about 1/4 cup of turkey broth or chicken broth and whisk until the flour is dissolved in to a paste and then add it in to the gravy. Whisk until combined and continue to simmer.
If it's too thick, just add in a little more turkey broth until it's thinner.
Now add in an extra dash of Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle of maldon sea salt. And voila!
Now for the cranberry sauce:
1 lb organic fresh cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine
2/3 cup maple syrup (avoiding that refined sugar)
2 cinnamon sticks
Bring to a boil and then let it simmer on low for around 10-15 minutes until it becomes a jelly.
Cool completely and then pop in to the fridge in a container until you’re ready to serve! If you want more, just double the recipe!
Back to the turkey:
Brine the bird the night before you want to cook it per your brining box instructions.
The morning of, wash the brine off and pat dry.
Season the bird all over with salt/pepper (including in the cavity).
Chop up all the mire poix for the bottom of your turkey pan and add over the white wine and turkey broth, seasoned with salt and pepper. This will help a nice gravy develop but also keep the bird moist from the evaporation during cooking.
Pop the bird in to your turkey roasting pan directly on the mirepoix or on a rack.
Soften 1 stick butter in the microwave for 15 seconds and add in your crushed garlic, sage and thyme.
Drizzle olive oil all over your bird and then splash it generously with Worcestershire sauce. I like to use around 1/2 a cup.
Now it’s time to spread your herby butter all over the breast, legs and wings of the bird.
Then stuff the cavity with chunks of the onion, apple, garlic bulb cut in half and the handfuls of sage and thyme.
Now cover the breast in rashes of organic streaky bacon which helps to keep the breast moist and succulent as it prevents it from drying out during cooking, plus bastes it in glorious bacon juices. This step is optional but my Dad has always done it on our Christmas turkey and it comes out juicy and amazing every time!
Now place your meat thermometer probe in to the turkey through the breast, from the bottom towards the top wher the neck would have been. Making sure not to touch any bones.
Place the turkey in a preheated oven at 350 F.
You are going to cook the turkey to an internal temperature of 165 F. When the bird reaches that temp, your thermometer could beep for you to alert you. Or you could do it the old fashioned way and calculate 20 minutes per pound but I often find the oven cooks it quicker than that method. So I tend to cook it for 2 hours and then check it.
Half way through cooking I also like to turn the bird as some ovens get one side slightly more browned than the other.
And I remove the bacon about 30 minutes from the end of cooking and chop it up and use it for on top of the roasted Brussels sprouts or something else instead in the dinner. Nothing goes to waste.
And then the breast of the turkey will finish browning in the last 30 minutes.
Once your bird is cooked, remove it from the oven and cover in foil to let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour while you make the gravy and finish the rest of the dinner!
Carve your turkey by removing the breasts and the legs, wings and thighs. Slice the breast in to strips and serve on a platter with fresh thyme and sage and pomegrante to make it look extra pretty.
Enjoy and happy thanksgiving!