A moist and flavourful holiday roast. A "dry" brining mixture of kosher salt and brown sugar makes this turkey moist and flavourful. Garnish the platter with flowering eucalyptus, ground cherries and Forelle pears for a lush, colourful presentation.
The most important step in roasting a perfect turkey is purchasing a quality bird. This is about 90% of the work. You can order fresh naturally raised or organic turkeys from independent butchers. Brining is a restaurant trick for intensifying flavour and improving texture, and this "dry" brining method is easy and effective. Using kosher salt is essential; be sure to rinse all traces of the sugar-salt mixture from the bird before roasting.
3 cups brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
2 tbsp dried sage
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp dried savoury
1/2 tsp allspice
1 13-15 lb. turkey
1 bunch fresh parsley
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup flour
2-3 cups turkey or chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
Step 1: Combine brown sugar, salt, herbs and spices in a bowl. Rinse turkey and dry very well with paper towels. Place turkey in a large pan or even a plastic bag, then pack brown sugar mixture all over exterior of turkey, and place some in cavity as well. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse brining mixture from turkey, inside and out, gently rubbing so it all comes off. Pat dry. Stuff parsley into cavity.
Step 3: Place turkey on rack in roasting pan, bend and tuck wings under the body and loosely tie drumsticks together. Rub all over with butter and tent loosely with foil. Roast 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 325°F and roast another 2-3/4 to 3-1/2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thighs (test both, do not touch the bone) reads 175°F. During the final hour of cooking, remove foil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Step 4: Remove turkey to a platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest at least 25 minutes before carving.
Step 5: To make gravy, carefully spoon most of fat out of drippings remaining in roasting pan, leaving behind about 4 tbsp, as well as all the browned bits. Place pan on stove over medium-high heat and stir flour into drippings until completely incorporated. Cook for 30 seconds then whisk in 2 cups turkey stock and wine (if using). Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, scraping up and incorporating all browned bits from pan. Reduce heat to low and whisk in additional stock to reach desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.