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Brined & buttered roast turkey with classic gravy

  • 45 min
  • 210 min
  • 8
  • Easy
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Brined & buttered roast turkey with classic gravy

Recipe Ingredients

  • 5,4kg turkey
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 4 rosemary sprigs, leaves
  • picked and finely chopped
  • 100g butter, softened
  • about 600g stuffing as per Jewelled Stuffing Bauble
  • 2 large onions, skin on, sliced


  • 300g fine salt
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 oranges, roughly chopped
  • 2 lemons, roughly chopped
  • handful thyme sprigs
  • handful rosemary sprigs


  • 25g cake flour
  • 100ml white wine
  • double cream, optional

Recipe Directions

  1. A day before you want to roast your turkey, prepare the brine mixture. In a large nonreactive container that will hold the turkey and fit into your fridge (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot), dissolve the salt and sugar in 5ℓ cold water by stirring. Add remaining brine ingredients. Lower in turkey. (Be sure to take any giblets out of the cavity first.) Make sure turkey is covered with the brine mixture. (Add more cold water if needed.) Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
  2. One hour before cooking, remove turkey from brine solution. Carefully rinse under cold running water (see GH Tip) and sit on a board. Pat dry with paper towels and use tweezers to pluck out any stray feathers. Allow turkey to come up to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 190°C. Finely grate zest of 1 of the oranges into a medium bowl. Roughly slice the zested and unzested oranges and set aside. To the zest bowl, add the thyme leaves, chopped rosemary leaves, butter and some seasoning. Mix.
  4. Lift up turkey-neck flap and use your fingers to ease the skin gently away from some of the breast meat. Work ½ the butter mixture under the skin, spreading over the meat. Next, put the stuffing inside the neck cavity. Turn the turkey over on to its breast, pull the neck flap down and over the stuffing, and secure with a skewer or cocktail sticks. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time, allowing 30 to 35 minutes per kg. Put half the orange slices into the central turkey cavity.
  5. Make a trivet in a large sturdy roasting tin with onions and remaining orange slices. Tie turkey legs together and rub over remaining flavoured butter mixture. Loosely cover tin with foil.
  6. Roast for calculated time, basting occasionally (add a little water to tin if base is catching), removing foil for last 30 minutes of cooking. To check whether the turkey is cooked, insert a fork into the thickest part of the breast and check that the juices run golden and clear. If there’s any red tinge to the juice, return the bird to the oven and keep checking every 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, use a meat thermometer – the temperature needs to read at least 72°C when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
  7. Transfer turkey to a board (set aside the roasting tin for gravy); cover well with foil and then clean tea towels to help keep the heat in. Leave to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes or up to 1¼ hours.
  8. Make the gravy. If there is excess fat, spoon some off (leaving other roasting remains in tin). Put tin over a medium hob heat and whisk in flour (mashing the orange and onion slices as you go). Cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the wine (scraping up all the sticky bits from the base of the tin) and leave to bubble for a few minutes. Next whisk in 400ml water and leave to simmer, whisking occasionally, for a couple of minutes until thickened. Strain into a warmed gravy jug or pot (to reheat when needed), or store in a flask. Check seasoning, adding a dash of cream if the brining has made the gravy too salty.
  9. To serve, unwrap turkey and transfer to a warm platter. Remove skewer or cocktail sticks and garnish with rosemary and fried orange slices, if you like. Serve with gravy (reheated if needed).
  10. EACH SERVING (for 125g meat, 1 tbsp stuffing and 50ml gravy): 1 480kJ, 43g protein, 15g fat (5g saturated), 11g carbohydrate (4g total sugars), 1g fibre.
  11. GET AHEAD IF NOT BRINING: Prepare steps 3 to 5 up to a day ahead. (Don’t preheat oven.) Chill. To serve, allow stuffed turkey to come up to room temperature before roasting.
  12. GH TIP: Make sure you sterilise the sink areas fully after you’ve rinsed the turkey to prevent the risk of bacterial contamination.

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