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!
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 golden raisins
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.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 mins
Makes 10 portions
1kg frozen cranberries
200gm dried cranberries
100ml apple juice
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.
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 celery stick
10gm fresh thyme
30ml olive oil
10gm tomato paste
1 litre water
20gm white flour
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.