UAE: Dubai Chef gives perfect Christmas turkey recipe guaranteed to impress

UAE: Dubai Chef gives perfect Christmas turkey recipe guaranteed to impress

Exclusive recipe for Gulf News readers with three delicious sides added in

Tender roast turkey plus delicious trimmings to serve with
Tender roast turkey plus delicious trimmings to serve with Image Credit: Palazzo Versace Dubai
Mansour Memarian, Executive Chef at Palazzo Versace Dubai

You can’t really relish the flavours of Christmas without roast turkey and various trimmings, so we asked Mansour Memarian, Executive Chef at Palazzo Versace Dubai, to tell us the best way to ensure we’re not let down on the big day!

So go ahead and invite the guests… then get started, because this recipe calls for brining the turkey about 24 to 72 hours ahead of time. It’ll be worth the effort though, especially when served with some sumptuous sides and extras including cranberry sauce, turkey jus and confit turkey stuffing - we've got recipes for all below!

Roast turkey

Prep time: 15 mins plus brine time 1-3 days depending on size of turkey

Cook time: 30 minutes per kg turkey, plus resting time 25 mins

An 8-10kg stuffed turkey is suitable for 5-8 people


Whole turkey brine recipe

5 litres of warm water (more as needed)

400gm brown sugar

200gm sea salt

3 shallots (chopped)

6 cloves garlic (smashed)

2 tbsp whole peppercorns

2 tbsp fresh rosemary (chopped)

1 tbsp fresh thyme


1. Place a gallon of warm water in a clean bucket or cooler. Add the brown sugar, salt, shallots, garlic, herbs and spices. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.

2. Carefully submerge the turkey in the brine. Add an additional ½ gallon or as much water to make sure the brine covers the turkey entirely.

3. If using a bucket, cover the bucket with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days. If using a cooler, fill it with ice to keep the turkey cold for up to 3 days.

4. The brine time should be determined based on the size of turkey. For a turkey of 7kg or less, brine for just 24 to 36 hours. For a turkey larger than 7kg, brine for up to 3 days. If you want to brine a smaller turkey for a longer period of time, reduce the salt to 1/2-3/4 cup, so it is not overly seasoned.

5. Before roasting, take the turkey out of the brine water and place on a rack for at least a couple of hours. Allow the turkey skin to dry thoroughly. Use paper towels to pat it dry if needed. You can place the roasting pan with the turkey in the refrigerator (or back in the cooler over ice) if you want to give the bird longer to dry. (The dryer the skin, the better it browns. Drying it overnight is best.)

6. Once dry, rub the turkey skin thoroughly with butter and stuff the turkey with herbs such as rosemary, thyme.

7. Roast the turkey at 160°C for 30 minutes per kg. Roast uncovered for the first couple hours, (around 3 1/2 to 4 hours) then tent with foil the last hour to make sure the breast meat doesn’t overcook. When using a meat thermometer, the breast meat should be 74°C.

8. Allow the turkey to rest for at least 25 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.

Confit Turkey Stuffing

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 mins

Makes 2 portions


1kg minced turkey

50gm dried apricot

50gm dried figs

50gm dried peach

50gm prunes

50gm golden raisins

50gm breadcrumbs

3 eggs

100ml milk


1. Chop dried fruits, place in a bowl with all ingredients, and mix. Roll in cling film like a sausage and then boil for 8-10 minutes depending on the size.

2. Prepare an ice bath and place boiled turkey roll in ice bath to cool it down. Once cold slice with a sharp knife, then sear in a pan for 4-5 minutes on both sides.

Cranberry Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20-30 mins

Makes 10 portions


1kg frozen cranberries

200gm dried cranberries

100ml apple juice

100ml water

2 lemons (freshly squeezed)

1 orange (freshly squeezed)

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

100gm granulated white sugar

50gm brown sugar


Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer till berries become very soft. Mash and serve.

Turkey Jus

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 mins (plus simmering time 2-3 hours and boiling time 1 hour)

Makes 10 portions


3kg turkey bones

500gm white onion

100gm carrot

100gm celery stick

50gm parsley

100gm garlic

10gm rosemary

10gm fresh thyme

100gm beetroot

30ml olive oil

10gm tomato paste

1 litre water

20gm white flour

10gm butter


1. Wash turkey bones and roast in a heated oven at 200C for around 15 minutes.

2. Stir-fry all vegetables and herbs in a saucepan until the vegetables are caramelised, then add tomato paste. After a while add water and roasted bones and let it simmer for 2-3 hours.

3. Prepare roux in another saucepan (roux is flour and butter cooked together and is used to thicken the sauce) and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Strain turkey jus and add into the pot with the roux, and boil for about an hour. The roux helps thicken the sauce.

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