Spiced and Super Juicy Turkey (Nigella Lawson)

After a month of review upon review, Turkey after Turkey, Christmas is finally done and dusted. Did you celebrate it at home or did you have a feast at a nice restaurant? When it comes to special occasion, my habit is to cook at home to avoid the crowd as well as the price hike up (but to be fair there were quite a few good set menus I have come across). Either way, the most important thing is that you spent it with closest people, which is what I did.

The menu is simple. I kept it fairly paleo with the exception of Roast Potatoes (otherwise Frank would cry, I think) and I stuck to my usual Turkey recipe by Nigella. This year, I got a fairly small bird (3.6kg) and it was just nice with some leftover for Turkey pot pie (also Paleo). I actually bought the bird fairly last minute and thus only kept it in the brine for about 18 hours (Nigella recommends over a day, though I read somewhere that over 12 hours should be sufficient). The result was a wonderfully moist and tasty Turkey and even tastier gravy.

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!
Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

I realised I didn’t post the recipe last time so here it is. Despite the seemingly long list of ingredients, it’s totally not time consuming at all. I added my own twist by wrapping some bacon on the turkey too, more bacon for everyone. The Turkey was from Australia and came frozen (I wish we could get Fresh ones here but had to make do), so remember to allocate time for it to thaw (took about 7 hours in KL weather). I think I’m rambling. Sorry, too much merry making last night. Let’s get on with the recipe. Nigella recommends throwing out the cooking juice because the brining process tends to make it really salty, but for me it is usually ok. You might have to taste it before deciding to keep it.

Spiced and Super Juicy Turkey Recipe from Nigella Christmas
For the Turkey brining
approx. 6 litres water
1 large orange or 2 smaller (quartered)
250 grams Maldon salt (or 125g / ½ cup table salt)
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 bouquet garni
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
4 cloves
2 tablespoons allspice berries
4 star anise
2 tablespoons white mustard seeds
200 grams sugar (omitted)
2 onions (unpeeled and quartered)
1 x 6 cm piece of fresh root ginger (unpeeled and cut into 6 slices)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons runny honey
stalks from 1 bunch fresh parsley
1 x 5.5 kilograms turkey

For the basting glaze
50g Butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Put the water into your largest cooking pot or a bucket or plastic bin. Squeeze the juice from the orange quarters into the water before you chuck the husks in, then add all the other ingredients, stirring to combine the salt, sugar, syrup and runny honey.

Remove any string or trussing from the turkey, shake it free, remove the giblets, if not already done, and put them in the fridge (or straightaway set about making the stock for the gravy), then add the bird to the liquid, topping up with more water if it is not completely submerged.

Keep covered in a cold place, even outside overnight or for up to a day or two before you cook it, remembering to take it out of its liquid (and wipe it dry with kitchen paper) 1-2 hours before it has to go into the oven.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF (You might need a lower heat if the bird is smaller, I set mine to 180)

Melt the butter and maple syrup together slowly over a low heat. Paint the turkey with the glaze before roasting in the oven, and baste periodically (with the cooking liquid) throughout the cooking time.

My adaptation: I roasted my bird for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, and at the last half an hour mark, I lay a few pieces of bacon on the breast to keep the flesh moist (and this way you will get some bacon fat in the gravy, yum!

When the turkey is ready, take it out of the oven, and let it sit for 20–40 minutes or even longer before serving. You can use this time to make the gravy. Simply drain all the juice out of the roasting tray, and reduce it with a little bit of potato starch until desired consistency. Add water to adjust the salt level.

Our Christmas Spread which is relatively Paleo except for the Roast Potatoes.
Our Christmas Spread which is relatively Paleo except for the Roast Potatoes.

The side dishes are simple: The Spiced Cauliflower Salad made another appearance, along with some Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, and Garlic Butter Green Beans. The Potatoes and Carrots were parboiled before roasting in the oven with some butter, olive oil, salt, paprika, pepper and rosemary. They were absolutely delicious!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Dried Cranberries
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Dried Cranberries

One can never do wrong with crispy bacon.

Spiced Cauliflower Salad
Spiced Cauliflower Salad

Mmmm you already know how much I love this dish.

My plate of happiness!
My plate of happiness!

Excuse me now I have to go eat another portion of my Turkey Pot Pie. Recipe to be posted soon! I will leave you a picture of our sexy backs, however.

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays! T-Shirts by Threeandtees in support of Twestival KL

I am submitting this to the “Baby Sumo’s Christmas Recipes Collection 2013” event.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Yee Ling says:

    Hi Kelly, the turkey was fabulous and perfectly roasted. We plan to do it this weekend but wondering if we still have enough time for brining the turkey..hehhe

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you and Frank.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Happy Holidays! Hope you brined your Turkey in time for today! Overnight is good enough actually in Malaysian weather.

  2. Baby Sumo says:

    Hope you had a great Christmas Kelly (and Frank!). We don’t usually have turkey in our house, but that sure looks good, and thanks for linking to my Christmas event.

    1. kellysiew says:

      Our Christmas was good. Though it’s not so significant as my family never did celebrate it but it was nice to have them over for a meal. I like doing Turkey for Xmas because of the novelty I guess. I hardly even get to do a whole chicken during the year!

  3. suituapui says:

    Didn’t have a turkey, missus not too fond of it…so she got one huge chicken! 😀

    1. suituapui says:

      Hope you had a great Christmas…and wishing you the happiest of New Years, come 2014!

      1. kellysiew says:

        Already back to work rehearsing for our NYE gig. Yes I saw the big chicken! I don’t get to do Turkey often so Christmas is a good time la. Best thing is actually the leftovers. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  4. roseliew says:

    Yummy roasted turkey!

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you! It was indeed delicious!

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