Easy Christmas Turkey

butterflied_turkey

This Butterflied Turkey is the easiest, most delicious turkey you could make this holiday season. Butterflying the bird not only produces a juicier result, but it also means less time in the kitchen. To infuse even more flavour into the turkey, you could also try brining it ahead of time.

 

One 12-pound turkey

 

Seasoned butter

6 ounces butter, softened

1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

3 tablespoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Gravy

3 tablespoons turkey drippings (or butter if using barbecue)

3 tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken or turkey stock

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Combine the butter with paprika, garlic, tarragon, chives, parsley, salt and pepper and mix together. Using a teaspoon or your fingers, make a space between the skin and meat of the turkey and spread seasoned butter underneath the skin and over the legs.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place turkey on a large, rimmed baking sheet, folding the legs toward each other to protect the breast from overcooking. Turn wing tips under. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, rub with a little extra butter and bake for between 1 hour 30 minutes and 1 hour 50 minutes, basting occasionally, until an oven thermometer reads 165F at the thickest part of the turkey (where the leg meets the body). Remove turkey from oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Drain turkey drippings into a skillet, discarding as much fat as possible. Add flour and whisk until incorporated. Pour in stock and soy sauce, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add redcurrant jelly and season with salt and pepper.

Remove legs and split into drumsticks and thighs. Cut breast lengthwise and carve into pieces. Lay all meat on a platter and serve with sauce.

 

Brining Turkeys

The current hot method of roasting poultry is to brine it before hand. This means soaking it in a salt and water solution for up to 24 hours before cooking to produce a better taste and texture. Brining loosens the muscle fibres creating better flavour, more juiciness and tenderness.

 

The Brine

To each 4 litres of cold water, stir in 1 cup kosher salt. Look for Diamond Crystal at the supermarket; it is the best for both brining and cooking.

You will need a container that will allow the turkey to be completely immersed in the brine. Use a very large pot that fits the turkey. Measure the volume of the pot and make up that amount of brine. You will not need it all. Stick the turkey in neck side down. Pour over enough brine until the turkey is covered. Tie a lid on top in case the turkey bounces up.

Brining timing is a matter of how much salt you use in the solution. The heavier the solution the shorter the brining time. Brine about 6 hours on the counter or outside, 24 hours if you refrigerate it..

Remove the bird, wash it off, pat it dry and set it on a baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight to crisp the skin. The bird will look gleaming, fresh, and shiny and the skin will be plumped up. Because the bird absorbs about 1 tablespoon of the salt mixture during the process, do not salt before roasting.

When cooked the bird will be juicy, carve easily and have taste. This is an ideal way to treat a turkey, especially if it is not free range or air chilled.

Kosher Turkeys are pre brined, by Jewish laws to remove all the blood. If you do not want to brine and have a source for a kosher turkey then this is an excellent substitute.