How to Cook a Turkey
Knowing how to cook a turkey will help ensure the feasting of the festivities goes off with a gastronomic bang. The following ‘how to’ shows you not only how to base a turkey but to also set about ensuring great flavour and cooking throughout.
1- Prepare your ingredients for the brine: 5 cups sugar, 3 cups coarse salt, 2 chopped onions, 2 chopped leeks, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, 2 dried bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme, a handful of chopped, flat-leaf parsley, 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, ground pepper for seasoning, 1 18-20 lb. (8-9kg) whole turkey.
2- Soak your turkey for 24 hours: Put salt, sugar, leeks, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, onions, and 10 cups water in a large pot and bring in to the boil. Stir until salt and sugar have dissolved and then remove it from the heat, allowing it to cool. Once cool, place the turkey in the brine and cover, refrigerating for 24 hours.
3- Remove and pat the turkey dry, allowing to acclimatise to room temperature for at least 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
4- Prepare ingredients for the base: 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter (1 stick), 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter, 1/2 cup dry white wine, cheese cloth.
5- Stir together melted butter and wine in a medium bowl to soak a cheesecloth with. Fold the cheesecloth so that it is large enough to cover breast and halfway down sides of turkey. Soak cloth in butter mixture and leave.
6- Place turkey in a roasting pan. Fold wing tips under turkey and place whatever stuffing you had in mind into the turkey. Rub turkey all over with softened butter; season with salt and pepper.
7- Take the cheesecloth out of butter mixture, gently squeezing into bowl to remove excess that can be used for brushing over the turkey at a later stage. Lay cheesecloth over turkey. Roast 30 minutes. Brush cheesecloth and exposed turkey with butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and brush every 30 minutes. 2 1/2 hours later, cover with foil if browning too quickly.
8-Discard cheesecloth and baste turkey with pan juices. Roast,ensuring brown all over by rotating pan. Once skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius), let turkey stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes.