Roast Turkey is a dish that I have only really encountered at Christmas Time – though I know from some U.S. friends (and lots of food blogs) that it’s a staple of Thanksgiving too.
So it’s not a regular meal for me, and to be honest, this is the first time that I cooked a full size turkey – I have only cooked the smaller breast.
So there was PLENTY of research conducted – I drew some inspiration from Jamie Oliver and Martha Stewart, among others.
I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge, but I planned it out, was careful in my approach, and ended up with a great result.
One key difference between my Roast Turkey with Gluten Free Cranberry & Macadamia Stuffing is (understandably) the stuffing.
Growing up, I can remember being consistently offered the stuffing, typically from roast chicken, and I can also remember being consistently not interested!
If you were like me, this stuffing will change your mind. It’s almost like you’ve had your serve of vegetables without even preparing sides.
After what I had read, I was pretty concerned about the bird drying out.
I tackled this in two ways – firstly by putting stuffing between the skin and the breast, and secondly by covering the breast with aluminium foil (see the method below).
I could have applied the foil a bit earlier (as you may note in the pic) and have accounted for this in the method – keeping in mind that everyone’s oven is a bit different.
- 4-4.5 kg turkey (giblets, heart and neck removed from cavity), at room temperature
- 50 grams butter, melted
- 1 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cup water
- 100 grams butter
- 100 grams pancetta or streaky bacon, diced
- 2 medium brown onions, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons sage
- 1 1/4 cups breadcrumbs from Quinoa & Chia Seed Bread (Paleo bread would also work)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup toasted macadamias, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper to season
- Juice from turkey, fat removed
- 2 tablespoons tapioca
- 500 ml organic chicken or vegetable stock
- Cotton kitchen string
- Place rack on lowest position in oven and pre-heat oven to maximum temperature.
- To make the stuffing, melt the butter in large fry pan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onions, celery, garlic and sage and cook for 10 minutes, until tender. Remove the fry pan off the heat and add breadcrumbs, macadamias and cranberries and salt and pepper, mix well to combine.
- To prepare the turkey, first rinse, then pat dry with paper towel. Place on a chopping board. Then you need to find the edge of the skin that is covering the breasts and gently peel it back. You should be able to work your fingers underneath and slowly free the skin away from the meat and form one or two pockets. Try not to put any holes in the skin. Next, put some of the stuffing underneath the skin, ensuring that you a thin layer of stuffing covering the breasts. Then insert stuffing into the turkey and also the neck cavity. Don’t pack too tightly as it may cause it not to cook evenly. Next, pull the flap of skin at the neck down to cover the neck cavity and pin with toothpicks to fasten it. Then pull the legs together and loosely tie with kitchen string.
- Weigh the stuffed turkey to calculate the cooking time (approximately 40-45 minutes per kilogram). Place the turkey into a large baking dish, with the wings tucked under the bird. Mix the melted butter and garlic powder in a small bowl and baste the turkey.. Them, pour 1 cup of water over the bird and cover the breast with foil. Place into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180 degrees celcius.
- Every 30 minutes, baste the turkey with some of the liquid in the baking dish. Remove the foil in the final 30 minutes. Roast for the calculated time or until the internal temperature reaches 80 degrees. Transfer to a serving platter and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- To make the gravy, add the pan juices , tapioca and stock to small saucepan and bring to the boil on medium-high heat. Cook until the gravy has reduced by half, the allow to rest for 10 minutes to thicken more. Scrape any fat off the top.
- Slice the turkey and serve with the stuffing and gravy.
It also goes well with Apple & Cranberry Chutney. You can find my recipe HERE.