Savoury Roast Turkey

Roast turkey is traditionally served on Thanksgiving Day in Canada and the US (and sometimes at Christmas). This year we celebrated Thanksgiving a few weeks later with our friends, as it was our turn to host a wine tasting.

We ordered the turkey from our Lamb Guy at our Friday farmer’s market a few weeks ahead. Ralph had the wrong date of our tasting in mind so we ended up with the turkey a week earlier, which was a bit of a panic moment as we don’t have much freezer real estate (and this bird was 9kg!). But we managed to squeeze it in.

For our Thanksgiving meal we started with a roasted Hokkaido pumpkin soup and served the roast turkey with mashed potatoes and oven roasted Brussels sprouts. For dessert, I made an apple butter pie . As a few of our guests have a dairy intolerance, we substituted olive oil for butter.

This meal doesn’t have to be just for large gatherings. If you have a friend or two who loves turkey (and has freezer space), why not have a meal together, share the leftovers, and make turkey stock? We ended up freezing multiple 2 cup portions of cut up turkey that we’ve already used some to make Turkey Ramen. It’s especially handy to have on hand during cold and flu season for soup.

I just wish you could bottle the scent of a turkey roasting in the oven all day.  

Stuffing ingredients:

  • Bread, cut into ½″ cubes, crust removed, enough to loosely stuff turkey cavity (approx.. 750g) – You can use white or brown. Ralph used this local Sylter Genusslaib mixed wheat bread for a more intense flavour.
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 springs fresh Thyme (or dried, QB)
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 5-6 leaves fresh sage or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 Tbsp chicken stock (or more)
  • Salt and pepper QB

Turkey ingredients:

  • 1 Turkey (ours was 9 kg/20 lbs)
  • 2-3 onions, cut into large wedges
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1″ wedges
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Salt and pepper QB

Gravy ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Skimmed fat (from pan after turkey is finished roasting)
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 500 ml chicken stock plus any drippings from the pan with fat skimmed

Stuffing instructions:

  1. Fry onion in olive oil until soft.
  2. Add celery, bread, fresh thyme, sage, and pepper.
  3. Add chicken stock to moisten (may need more depending on your type of bread).
  4. Remove from pan to cool faster (if stuffing turkey right away).

Turkey instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C
  2. Line your turkey roasting pan with the onions, carrots, and garlic cloves.
  3. Stuff turkey with bread stuffing; cover stuffing area with tin foil if it’s spilling out.
  4. Tie legs and wings together with kitchen twine.
  5. Rub poultry seasoning into side facing up, followed with salt. Flip the turkey and repeat. [Note: you can also rub it first with olive oil.]
  6. Lay turkey breast-side down.
  7. Baste regularly, and adjust heat if skin is browning too quickly.
  8. Roast until the turkey reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C)—ours took a total of six hours. Check out How Long It Takes to Roast a Turkey for other sizes and tips.
  9. We let our turkey rest for two hours before carving.

Gravy instructions:

  1. Remove turkey from pan and skim fat in pan using a baster (3 Tbsp).
  2. Strain remaining juice into a bowl (discard onion, carrots, and garlic).
  3. Reheat turkey pan (medium heat), then add fat and flour (to brown the flour).
  4. Add strained juice from bowl.
  5. Whisk while adding chicken stock (add more flour for consistency you prefer).
  6. Never add flour directly to the sauce as it will just make clumps- always stir it into enough water to make a creamy paste first then add this to the gravy while stirring

[Sorry, I didn’t take any pics of Ralph making gravy. I was…err…wine tasting 🍷.]

BONUS! Tricia’s poultry seasoning recipe

Combine all ingredients and mix well:

  • 75ml dried ground sage
  • 50ml dried ground thyme
  • 20ml dried parsley
  • 15ml dried ground savory
  • 15ml dried ground marjoram
  • 5ml dried ground rosemary
  • 5ml ground celery seed
  • 5ml ground black pepper
  • 3ml fine sea salt
  • Dash of celery salt

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