Turkey for Christmas is all the rage. It is a classic staple for any Christmas meal. So, here are three recipes for the best Christmas turkey to make your holiday feast its very best.
Kale and Sausage-Stuffed Turkey Breast
Ingredients: 1 boneless turkey breast (about 7 pounds), trimmed and butterflied, Kale and sausage stuffing, 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Remove skin from the turkey; set aside.
Place the turkey breast with skinned side down on a cutting board. Spread halves of the breast apart so the breast opens like a book. Release strips of meat from the breast and then with a sharp knife, slice through the thickest part of each breast half, creating flaps that you can open to create a more uniform thickness.
Cover the turkey with plastic wrap. Gently pound it down to an even thickness (about 3/4 inch thick) using a meat mallet. Remove plastic and season with salt and pepper.
Spread the stuffing over surface of the turkey breast in an even layer.
Then tightly roll the turkey breast, starting from your left side, to enclose the stuffing.
Center the reserved skin on top of the turkey, and wrap the turkey tightly, smoothing the skin out over the meat to remove any air pockets beneath the skin.
Using a few short lengths of kitchen twine, begin to tie the roast at 3 or 4 evenly spaced intervals to keep the skin from coming loose. Rub oil over the skin, and season generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer the turkey with the seam side down to a large roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes.
Season the Brussels sprouts with salt and add them to the pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey reaches 155°F, about 30 minutes more. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with Brussels sprouts.
Spice-Rubbed Roast Turkey
Ingredients: 1 whole fresh turkey (20 to 24 pounds), Shiitake-mushroom stuffing and sausage stuffing, room temperature, 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp ground Aleppo pepper or paprika, plus more if desired, Persimmons, for garnish (optional), Fresh sage, for garnish (optional), 2 navel oranges, halved, 1 cup dry white wine, 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted, Coarse salt.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rinse the inside and outside of the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Then transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan. Let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Tuck wings under the turkey and fill the cavity opening loosely with stuffing. Then tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Next, squeeze 1 orange over the turkey. Season the outside of the turkey liberally with salt and sprinkle with pepper. Then, begin to gently rub seasonings into the turkey.
Next, heat the juice of the remaining orange with the butter and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Then roast the turkey, making sure you are basting every half hour with the melted-butter mixture until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers at 165°F, which should take 3 1/2 to 4 hours. At the halfway mark, rotate the pan and cover with foil.
Finally, remove the stuffing from the turkey and transfer it to a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Bake the stuffing until it reaches 165°F, roughly 30 minutes more. Meanwhile, let the turkey sit for 30 minutes. Then, transfer the turkey to a platter and reserve pan juices in the roasting pan for Aleppo pepper gravy. Finally, carve the turkey and garnish with persimmons and sage if desired.
The Best Roast Turkey—Christmas or Anytime
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp plain flour, 1.1 L organic chicken or vegetable stock, 1 handful dried apricots, 300 g higher-welfare minced pork, Sea salt, Freshly ground black pepper, 12 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus a few extra, 4 to 4.5 kg higher-welfare turkey, at room temperature, Zest of 1 lemon, 1 pinch grated nutmeg, 1 large free-range egg, 1 bulb garlic, broken into cloves, 4 medium red onions, peeled, 2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped, 1 large orange, Olive oil, 1 sprig fresh sage, leaves picked, 2 carrots, peeled, 12 strips higher-welfare pancetta or thinly sliced streaky bacon, 1 big handful breadcrumbs.
Preheat the oven to maximum heat. Heat up a saucepan at medium heat and add a splash of olive oil, and 6 of the pancetta or bacon strips plus the sage. Peel and chop 1 onion and 2 garlic cloves. Add the celery, garlic, and onion to the saucepan and fry everything gently until soft and golden brown. Remove pan from heat, add the breadcrumbs, and, while the mix is cooling down, chop the apricots roughly and stir them in. When the stuffing is cool, add the pork, nutmeg, lemon zest, lots of salt and pepper, and egg. Mix it all very well together.
Slice the remaining strips of pancetta or bacon in half and slice 1 peeled garlic clove into thin slivers. Next, place a rosemary sprig and a garlic sliver on one end of a halved strip of pancetta and roll it up tightly. Repeat this with the other pieces of pancetta or bacon until you have 12 small rolls. Stab the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in 6 places on each side. In the stabs, push a little pancetta roll into each hole until it just peeps out. This gives extra flavor and moisture while cooking.
Chop the remaining onions in half and slice carrots thickly. Give your turkey a good wipe, inside and out, with kitchen paper, and place it on a board, with the neck end towards you. Find the edge of the skin that’s covering the turkey’s breasts and gently peel it back. Work your fingers and then your hand under the skin, freeing it from the meat. If you’re careful, you should be able to pull all the skin away from the meat, keeping it attached at the sides. Go slowly and try not to make any holes! Lift the loose skin at the neck end and spoon in the stuffing between the skin and the breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop anything from falling out. Pop the orange in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up and stuff it into the cavity. Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time (about 20 minutes per 500 g/1 pound/2 ounces).
Place the bird on a large roasting tray, rub it all over with olive oil, and season it well. Surround with the chopped onions, remaining garlic, and carrots and cover with tinfoil and place in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down right away to 350°F, and roast for the calculated time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce it with a knife or a skewer. Remove the tinfoil for the last 45 minutes to brown the bird.
Carefully lift the turkey out of the tray and rest it on a board that’s covered loosely with foil for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours for bigger birds. When the resting time’s nearly up, skim the surface fat from the roasting tray and add in the flour and stock to make gravy. Place the tray on the hob and bring to a boil on a high heat. When the gravy starts to thicken, strain it into a bowl. Finally, carve your turkey and serve with the gravy. Bon appetite.
“18 Christmas Turkey Recipes for a Holiday Feast,” Martha Stewart web site; http://www.marthastewart.com/274484/christmas-turkey-recipes, last accessed December 1, 2016.
“The best roast turkey – Christmas or any time” Jamie Oliver web site; http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/turkey-recipes/the-best-roast-turkey-christmas-or-any-time/, last accessed December 1, 2016.