Cooking the perfect turkey for Christmas
So, the big day is only five days away now and we’re sure many of you hosting Christmas this year have got everything ready and there’s nothing left for you to do but enjoy the run up to Christmas Day. On the other hand, we also know that some people like to leave things to last minute, including getting ready to cook Christmas dinner.
Everyone looks forward to all the scrumptious food on offer throughout the Holiday season, but nothing beats a traditional Christmas dinner on the 25th December. If it’s your turn to cook the turkey, or if you’re cooking it for the first time and aren’t sure what to do, take a look at this delicious recipe for brined roast turkey crown and confit legs that’ll keep your turkey breast succulent, and the leg meat falling off the bone.
Here’s what you’ll need…
5kg turkey, legs and thighs removed, wings cut from the breast (ask your butcher to chop the neck and backbone into pieces for the gravy)
500g duck fat or goose fat
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
2 sage sprigs
1 onion, quartered
50g butter, softened
For the dry brine:
160g flaky sea salt
1 tbsp black peppercorns, toasted
6 bay leaves, crumpled up
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
4 tbsp lemon zest (about 6 lemons)
4 tbsp orange zest (about 4 oranges)
Here’s what you’ll need to do….
1. A couple of days before Christmas, make the brine by combining the salt, peppercorns, bay, sage and sugar using a pestle and mortar, or crush with the end of a rolling pin in a bowl.
2. Stir through both zests and spoon roughly 1/ 3 into a large resealable bag and the rest in another bag to chill.
3. Put the turkey legs and wings in the bag with 1/ 3 of the brine and shake well to coat the skin, then leave overnight in the fridge.
4. The next day, heat oven to 120C/ 100C fan/gas 1. Rinse the brine from the legs and wings and pat dry.
5. Put the duck fat in a roasting tin, melt in the oven for 5 mins, then add the turkey pieces (they should be submerged in the fat).
6. Cook in the middle of the oven for about 4 hrs or until the legs are tender. Leave to cool, then cover and chill overnight.
7. On Christmas Eve, cover the turkey crown in the remaining dry brine and chill in the fridge overnight.
8. On Christmas morning, take the crown out the fridge 1 hr before roasting, rinse off the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper.
9. Take the confit legs, thighs and wings out the fridge and leave to come to room temperature so they are easily released from the fat.
10. Take out and put on a baking tray ready to reheat later. Strain the fat and set aside ready to cook the potatoes.
11. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and line a large shallow roasting tin with foil.
12. Set a wire rack on top, scatter the herbs and onion across and sit the crown on top. Rub the butter all over the skin and season well.
13. Roast, uncovered, for 40 mins, then cover with foil and cook for another 30 mins. Remove the foil, and cook for a final 15-20 mins.
14. To test if the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the breast – the juices should run clear.
15. Transfer to a platter, cover with foil and leave to rest for at least 30 mins.
16. Meanwhile, reheat the confit legs and wings in the oven for 30 mins or until the skin has crisped up.
17. Add to the platter with the crown and carve.