Whether you’re new to cooking and looking for a simple recipe or a seasoned chef aiming to surprise your guests, here are 5 different ways to cook your turkey this festive season that will guarantee clean plates all around.
Maple-syrup-glazed Roast Turkey with Riesling gravy
Turkey and a crisp white wine sound like a match made in culinary heaven so pairing the two in one meal sounds even better. The rich ginger-butter-maple syrup glaze gives it a beautiful brown colour and infuses it with great flavours which pair wonderfully with your favourite bottle of Riesling incorporated into a spicy gravy.
- 1 1/4 pound fresh turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cornbread sourdough stuffing
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup Riesling wine
- 2 cups homemade turkey stock, or low sodium canned chicken broth, skimmed of fat
- 2/3 cup seedless red and green grapes, each cut in half
Heat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lowest third of oven. Wash turkey inside and out with cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck wing tips under body. Generously season neck, body cavities, and underside with salt and pepper.
Loosely fill the neck cavity with the stuffing. Using wooden skewers or toothpicks, secure the flap. Holding the turkey upright, loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Pull the legs together, and tie them with kitchen twine. Heap on additional stuffing so that it is bulging out of the cavity. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the bird, and set it on a rack in a roasting pan.
Cut a double layer of cheesecloth to fit over the entire turkey. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Place cheesecloth in the butter, completely soaking cloth. Drape cheesecloth over the bird.
Place turkey in the oven, and roast 30 minutes. Baste with butter that has accumulated in the pan. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and loosely cover bird with a large piece of aluminum foil; roast 30 minutes more. Baste again. Continue roasting, basting once an hour, until a meat thermometer registers 180 degrees in the leg and 170 degrees in the breast, about 3 hours.
During the last half hour of roasting, place grated ginger in a small, double layer of cheesecloth; squeeze juice into a small saucepan. Add maple syrup and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat the mixture until the butter has melted and is bubbling. Remove the maple-syrup glaze from heat.
Remove foil tent and cheesecloth from bird, and discard. Brush glaze over bird several times during last half hour. Remove turkey from the oven, and transfer to a carving board. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with flour, and mix together until smooth; set aside. Pour pan drippings into a fat separator or glass measuring cup, and let stand 10 minutes. If using a fat separator, carefully return juices to pan; discard fat. If using a measuring cup, use a spoon to skim fat from top, and return juices to pan.
Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Pour wine into the pan, and, using a wooden spoon, stir up any brown bits on bottom. Cook liquid until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Add turkey stock, and cook until reduced again by half, about 7 minutes.
Pass the gravy through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, and pour into a small saucepan. Whisk in the reserved butter-flour mixture until the butter has melted. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let gravy simmer until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Add red and green grapes to the gravy; serve gravy with turkey.
Spice-Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy
Grab all the spices you can for this recipe and adjust them to your taste. Not only will this be an explosion of taste but it will also have your kitchen smelling heavenly. The addition of Cognac and vermouth into your gravy will compliment all the spices in your turkey.
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika (pimentón dulce)*
- 1 (18- to 20-pound) turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for giblet broth
- 5 1/2 cups turkey broth
- 5 cups (about) turkey broth
- 3/4 cup dry white vermouth
- 2 tablespoons Cognac
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- Toast coriander, cumin, peppercorns, and cinnamon in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl; cool. Grind spices to powder in spice grinder. Transfer spice powder to small bowl; mix in salt and paprika. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan; tuck wings under. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon spice mixture in main cavity of turkey and remaining spice mixture all over turkey skin; tie legs together to hold shape. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
- Let turkey stand 1 hour at room temperature.
- Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 450°F. Pour 1 1/2 cups turkey broth into pan with turkey. Reduce heat to 350°F; roast turkey 2 hours. Add 2 cups broth to pan. Roast 1 hour; pour 2 cups broth over turkey. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 1 hour longer.
Meanwhile, prepare giblet broth:
- Place reserved turkey neck, heart, and gizzard in medium saucepan; add 3 cups turkey broth. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Strain broth into 4-cup measuring cup; reserve neck, heart, and gizzard. Skim any fat from surface of giblet broth. Add enough turkey broth to giblet broth to measure 4 cups total. Remove meat from neck. Finely chop neck, heart, and gizzard.
- Transfer turkey to platter, tent loosely with foil and kitchen towel, and let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature of turkey will rise 5 to 10 degrees).
For giblet gravy:
- Pour pan juices from roasting pan into large measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface. Transfer 4 tablespoons fat to medium saucepan (if needed, use some of reserved fat from turkey broth to measure 4 tablespoons total). Discard any excess fat.
- Place roasting pan over 2 burners set at medium-high heat. Add vermouth and Cognac to pan and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add degreased pan juices and 1 cup giblet broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.
- Heat reserved 4 tablespoons fat in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour, whisking until smooth. Whisk constantly until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in pan-juice mixture and 3 cups giblet broth. Simmer until gravy is thick enough to coat spoon, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in chopped neck, heart, and gizzard. Season with salt and pepper. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.
Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey
If you love the taste of turkey and want to keep your meal simple then this is the recipe for you. The combination of an entire stick of butter and mayonnaise will ensure that you get a moist turkey which pairs well with a gravy of your choice.
- 12-14 lb. whole turkey, (totally thawed, tee-totally thawed)
- 6-7 fresh sage leaves,* rough chopped
- 5-6 fresh thyme stems
- 2-3 springs of rosemary
- 2-3 springs of oregano
- 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
- 1-2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1-2 tablespoons pepper
- 3 stalks celery, rough chopped
- 1 large onion, rough chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted (adjust all seasonings & mayonnaise as needed for size of bird)
- Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.
- Lay turkey in a roasting pan.
- Remove leaves from herbs stems. Add sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano to mayonnaise; combine well. Rub mayonnaise/herb mixture all over outside and interior of bird.
- Liberally salt, and pepper turkey. Add the celery, and onion, inside and out, and tuck the butter in the cavity.
- Roast turkey in 450-degrees F oven for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350-degrees F, and insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to touch bone. Continue roasting, uncovered, until internal thermometer reaches 165-degrees F. Cover legs with foil partway through roasting if desired. Depending on size of turkey, total cook time will be around 1 1/2-2 hours. Once the thermometer reaches 165-degrees F in the thigh, check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast to make sure it reads at least 165-degrees F as well.
- Remove from oven. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for at least 20-30 minutes (depending on size) before carving.
- Remember to reserve turkey drippings and juices for gravy.
Korean Glazed Turkey
The ingredients used in this are simple and easy to find but once they are combined they come together in a medley of sweet and tangy flavours that compliment turkey well. It may be time consuming because it includes brining the turkey but the tender flavourful outcome makes it worth the effort.
- 3 litters (12½ cups) cold water
- 2 cups apple sider
- 1 cup soy sauce, recommended Korean soy sauce
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 green onions
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 ginger slices
- 1 garlic bulb, cut into halves
- 10 to 12 lb Turkey
- 1 Tbs garlic powder
- 1 Tbs onion powder
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbs melted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tbs soy sauce, recommended Korean soy sauce
- 1 Tbs rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs cold water
- 5 to 6 celery stalks
- In a large pot, combine all ingredients for brine except turkey; bring it to boil and cool it completely. Place turkey in a brine bag or 2.5 gallon hefty bag and pour cooled brine liquid including solid ingredients. Close tightly and place in a largest mixing bowl you have or in a roasting pan that can fit in your refrigerator. This much liquid, you never know what’s gonging to happen. Brine turkey 16 to 24 hours in a refrigerator.
- Preheat oven 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients for rub, and set aside.
- Take turkey out form brine liquid and place on a baking sheet or working surface. Cut along both sides of back bone from one end of turkey to other with a pair of strong kitchen scissors. Remove back bone. You can use back bone for gravy, if you are making one.
- Place turkey cut side down and flat out legs, left and right. Now, with both of your hands, push down top of breastbone with your weight until you hear cracks. Now your turkey should lay flat. Tuck wing tips under turkey breast.
- Rub turkey with mixture we made earlier all over turkey both side. If you want, push through rub under breast skin. Place celery stalks under turkey to create “celery rack”. You can use cooling rack instead if you prefer.
- Roast turkey in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. In half way, cover turkey with aluminium foil and rotate 90 degrees. To check doneness of turkey, insert thermometer into thickest part of breast and it should reaches 150°F or into thickest portion of hight registers 165°F.
- Remove from oven and let it rest, loosely covered with foil for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make glaze. In a sauce pan, add all ingredients for glaze. Bring it to boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- You can glaze turkey from here, and carve. Serve with your favourite gravy and other side dishes. Or add turkey juice from roasted turkey and whisk. Carve turkey and serve “glaze sauce” on the side. Enjoy!
Slow Cooked Turkey Leg
Easy and effortless, this recipe is perfect for Christmas Day or the day after. The entire turkey is slow cooked in garlic, Sriracha, honey and thyme and all you need to do is baste it regularly to ensure even flavour all over.
- 2 lbs (900g) turkey leg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha, or 1 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
- 8-10 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 2/3 cup (150ml) chicken stock
- Preheat your oven to 370°F (190°C). Season turkey leg with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-bottomed, oven-proof casserole with oil over high heat, brown the leg for 3 minutes on each side. Then add onions, garlic, Sriracha, honey and thyme; cook for 2 minutes stirring gently and deglaze with chicken stock. Add the bay leaves.
- Cover and cook in the preheated oven for 4-5 hours at 370°F (190°C)—or lower 305°F (150°C) for 6-8 hours. Baste regularly with the cooking juices. At the end of cooking, adjust seasoning if needed but there should be enough salt given the chicken stock is reduced.
- When the turkey meat falls apart easily, transfer to a serving platter and shred with two forks. Enjoy on sandwiches, with a baked potato, white rice, or however else you want to enjoy it.