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Belated Christmas Turkey - Brined with Knorr Stock Cubes

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

I hope you all had a great Christmas! Enjoying post-Christmas sales?! Mine was rather quiet, just my sister and I cause the wild boar was away for locum work over Christmas. It was a last minute thing. He had to catch the late night train on Thursday to Exeter which was 3 hrs away and he came back only yesterday. Sad, I know. Have been singing silent night(s) to myself for the past few days...Anyway, our Christmas dinner was postponed to tonight. I prepared another traditional Christmas dinner this year - roast turkey, rich stuffing, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy...and we just had Christmas stuffed.

I decided to use Knorr chicken stock cubes instead of salt for the brine this year as I have A LOT, many boxes, unlimited supply. I currently have about 50 cubes or more in the pantry, I lost count. Don't give me that look, I'm not an "instant" addict and no, Knorr is not my sponsor. They are all from my mum-in-law. Everytime she visits, she'd bring a few boxes. I don't really use them, so they just accumulate. It actually added a really nice flavour. The turkey was really moist, juicy and tasty.

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  • 4kg turkey
  • About 50g unsalted butter (for rubbing all over turkey) - softened
  • 1 carrot - large chunks
  • 2 celery sticks - chopped
  • 1 onion - large slices
  • Corn starch slurry (corn starch + water)
  • A few sage leaves
  • Rosemary leaves from 1 stalk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Turkey brine:
  • 500ml + 4.5L water (or enough to cover whole turkey)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 10 cubes Knorr chicken stock cubes (2 cubes per litre water)
  • 1 tbs black peppercorn
  • 2 pieces stem ginger - coarsely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick

2 days before or the day before (early):

  • Place 500ml (2 cups) water, sugar, stock cubes, black peppercorn, stem ginger and cinnamon stick in a pot.
  • Bring to boil then simmer for about 10 mins.
  • Leave to cool then refrigerate.
The day before:

  • Add refrigerated brine to a large container, turkey and add the rest of the water (enough to cover turkey).
  • Leave this refrigerated overnight. I left mine for about 36 hrs.
On the day:

  • Before roasting, preheat oven to 250°C.
  • Discard brine, rinse turkey thoroughly and pat very dry.
  • Place on roasting rack.
  • Stuff turkey with stuffings.
  • Rub unsalted butter all over turkey.
christmas 2009 turkey 01
Rub a piece of butter in between your palms to soften/ melt butter.

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  • Place carrots, celery and onions on roasting tray.
  • Place turkey on roasting rack, tuck the wings in to prevent burning.
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  • Cover bird with aluminium foil.
  • Roast at lowest level at 250°C for 20 mins. I added about 1 cup of water into roasting tray to prevent vegetables from burning.
  • Lower heat to 180°C and continue roasting for a further 3 hrs (about 20 mins per 500g, weigh with stuffings). Remove foil for the last hour of roasting to brown the bird.
  • Remove bird from oven, loosely cover with foil and leave for about 20 mins before carving.
christmas 2009 turkey 07

For turkey gravy:
  • Place roasting tray on the hob, add 1 cup of water and bring to the boil. Remember to scrape off the tasty brown bits.
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  • Strain this into a saucepan.
  • Add sage and rosemary leaves, simmer for a few mins.
  • Thicken with corn starch slurry.
  • Add salt and black pepper to taste.
christmas 2009 14turkey gravy

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