So it is just three days until the big beautiful day that is Christmas. This blog post on how to cook the perfect turkey, is my big fat thank you to you all for following this journey that is now seven years of Relish Mama. I thank you for your beautiful support, kind words and well….I thank you just for being so darn lovely to us here.
Our Christmas classes have come to a close (they were so, so lovely, I might add) and a stunning Christmas feast was shared at our table. All guests left feeling super pumped and ready to tackle the challenge of cooking Christmas dinner, whether it be for a few or for many.
My preference these days is to cook either 1 or 2 large turkey breasts, rolled with a lovely home made simple stuffing, which I change each year. This is what I demonstrated in classes this December and I think many were converted. It free’s the oven up, cuts the cooking time down to a fraction and for me, keeps it simpler and allows more time and room for big pyramid salads, seafood and of course, a glorious glazed ham (we did a pomegranate glazed ham this year – it was a stand out).
I am giving you 2 recipes – one for the rolled turkey breast and one for a whole turkey. Whichever way you go, you cannot loose. They are both stars.
Wishing you a table filled with all those whom you love this Christmas and always.
Turkey tips first :
- Never stuff your turkey with warm stuffing. It must be completely cool.
- Weigh your turkey after it is stuffed and allow approximately 40 mins cooking time per kilo on 180oC. Remember to factor in resting time of at least 15-30 minutes after your turkey has come out of the oven.
- The best way to ensure turkey is cooked through is with a meat thermometer. If bird is large, add 20-30 minutes of oven time for every 500g over 7.6kg. When cooked, the internal temperature of breast should be 74°C and the legs 80°C.
Please pardon the photo above but hey, when you are running a cooking class & feeding beautiful but hungry guests…photography is not, at this moment, my strongest point x
ROASTED TURKEY BREAST WITH PASRLEY AND PECORINO STUFFING
Weigh your turkey after it is stuffed and allow approximately 40 mins cooking time per kilo on 180oC. Remember to factor in resting time of at least 15-30 minutes after your turkey has come out of the oven.
1 x 1-1.5kg boneless Turkey breast with skin on and butterflied
Parsley & pecorino stuffing
½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
20g pecorino, finely grated
30ml extra virgin olive oil
2 Spanish onions, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon melted Butter
200ml chicken stock
100ml white wine
40 ml aceto balsamic vinegar
1 radicchio, washed and leaves separated
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, washed
40 ml balsamic vinegar
80ml olive oil
1 lemon juiced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the turkey breast, skin-side-down, on a board. Season with sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper.
Combine the parsley, garlic, pecorino and 30 ml oil in a bowl and combine. Spread evenly over the butterflied turkey breast. Roll into a log / cylinder and tie, at intervals with kitchen twine.
Scatter onion wedges over base of a small roasting pan. Place rolled turkey over the top. Brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Add the stock and the wine to the pan as well as the balsamic vinegar and roast for approx. 60-70 minutes, basting regularly and until juices run out clear when pierced with a skewer.
|Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving.|
I often find I have more than enough pan juices left after roasting and I simply moisten the turkey with this. Throwing the balsamic in before cooking was an accident this year but I so loved the result that I changed the recipe. Previously I used to deglaze the pan with a little balsamic and white wine but I don’t find it is needed and 1 less step on Christmas day, is always a thing to be applauded.
Combine the remaining 40ml vinegar with the oil, juice of a lemon and mustard. Season and whisk to combine. Dress the radicchio and parley leaves with the dressing. Thickly slice the turkey and serve on a platter with the radicchio salad, spooning over some of the juices and onions, from the bottom of the pan also.
If cooking a whole turkey
WHOLE ROAST TURKEY
Serves 10-12, with leftovers
**I prefer cooking with a turkey buffet (a whole turkey minus the legs)as the breast cooks faster than the legs. This is often the reason for a dry & overcooked Christmas Turkey.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 small brown onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
50g spinach, trimmed
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
180g raisins, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and drained
200g unsalted butter, finely diced
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
7.6kg whole turkey or turkey buffet (medium to large)
Relish Mama relish or mustard fruits, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C.
To make stuffing, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Blanch spinach in boiling salted water until just wilted, then drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze excess water from spinach. Chop coarsely.
Combine onion mixture with spinach, breadcrumbs, herbs, raisins and butter in a medium bowl. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Insert stuffing under skin of turkey on breasts and legs (if not a turkey buffet), until it’s firmly packed in.
Rub skin with plenty of olive oil and season turkey inside and out.
Place turkey in a large baking tray and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 150°C and cook turkey for 4-5 hours or until cooked. (The best way to ensure turkey is cooked through is with a meat thermometer. If bird is large, add 20-30 minutes of oven time for every 500g over 7.6kg. When cooked, the internal temperature of breast should be 74°C and the legs 80°C.)
Reduce oven temperature to 50°C, cover turkey with foil and allow it to rest in oven for about 20 minutes.
Remove drumsticks, thighs and wings at second joint. Slice breasts into 1-2cm-thick slices, being careful not to rip skin. Serve on a platter with Relish Mama relish or mustard fruits on the side.