INCREDIBLE ROAST TURKEY
Golden, crispy skin, and a moist interior are the hallmarks of Thanksgiving turkey perfection. Carving time is the most highly anticipated event during the holiday, and this recipe ensures that you will live up to expectations! The addition of crispy bacon adds flavor to the turkey and creates an attractive, crispy crown for the bronzed turkey.
Makes: 12 servings
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 hours
1 x 12 pound (5.5 kg) turkey (giblets removed and kept)
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 bunch of fresh sage
8 bay leaves
3 white onions (cut into quarters)
10 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups (360 ml) white wine for basting and 1 ½ cups (360 ml) for the gravy
3 cups (720 ml) chicken stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 slices of good-quality smoked bacon
Brining your turkey
For best results, brine your turkey ahead of time. Brining results in extra moist meat.s Use a container big enough to allow you to fully submerge the turkey and pour in enough brine to cover the bird. Use 4 tablespoons of salt for every quart (4 cups/900 ml) of water you use. Add any herbs and additional flavorings you like, such as bunches of thyme and rosemary, a few tablespoons of black peppercorns, and some bay leaves. Let the turkey soak in the brine for 16 to 18 hours , in the refrigerator, before cooking.
TO COOK THE TURKEY
1. Preheat the oven to 380F/190C.
2. Remove the giblets from the turkey and set aside. Rinse and dry the turkey, and remove any remaining feathers. Place the bunch of thyme, sage, bay leaves, one onion, and the garlic cloves inside the cavity of the turkey, and use a cocktail skewer to seal the cavity using the skin from the neck.
3. Mix the chopped thyme and rosemary with the butter and season well. Use your fingers to separate the turkey breast from the skin (keeping it intact) and push the herb butter under the skin (this will help to keep the meat nice and moist while cooking).
4. Pile the rest of the onions, carrots, sprigs of thyme, and giblets into a large, deep roasting pan, and place the turkey on top. Drizzle the bird with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour the white wine into the pan and then cover with foil.
5. Place the roasting pan into the oven and roast, covered, for approximately three hours (total cooking time three-and-a-half hours). Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature; when the temperature reaches 155F/68C, remove the foil and roast uncovered for an additional 30 minutes to crisp the skin. See the turkey roasting temperature guide at the bottom of the page if your turkey weighs less or more than 12 pounds.
6. Baste the turkey with the juices in the pan every 30 minutes. When the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 155F, take it out of the oven and remove the foil, season the bird again with salt, pepper, and one tablespoon of chopped thyme, then lay the bacon over the bird, placing eight slices onto each breast. Place the turkey back into the oven and roast for a further 30 minutes, until the bird is golden-brown, the bacon is crispy, and the internal temperature is at least 165F.
7. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to settle. The turkey will stay hot and the skin and bacon will stay crispy.
8. To make the gravy, pour the roasting juices from the pan into a pitcher or a large mason jar and allow to settle; the juices and fat will separate after roughly 10 minutes.
9. Place the roasting pan with the vegetables on the stove top over high heat (spanning two burners) and add the white wine. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly and scraping up all of the bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the wine has reduced by two-thirds, then add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Skim the fat from the pitcher of roasting juices and discard, then add the remaining roasting juices to the gravy.
10. Cook the gravy for 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half, then stir the cornstarch mixture in and cook for another three to five minutes until the gravy has thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then pour the mixture through a sieve or fine mesh strainer, and into a gravy boat to serve alongside the turkey.
11. Place the turkey onto a serving platter and garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs. Carve the turkey at the table for maximum effect. If you are making pigs in blankets or cranberry and pistachio stuffing to go with the thanksgiving feast, stack these up around the bird to make a stunning centerpiece.
Approximate Roasting Times for a Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for an Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours