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Dry-brined turkey with cranberry relish and verjuice pan juices

Dry-brining is a slightly quicker way to infuse flavour and moisture into the turkey than traditional brine solutions. It also means the turkey cooks a little faster, which can only be a good thing in summer. We have specified a particular salt in this recipe to avoid oversalting the bird - if you use a different salt, you may need to adjust the salting time and quantity to accommodate this. The cranberry relish is inspired by a recipe of Stephanie Alexander's and is as good with ham as it is with this turkey, so we've made a big batch. You'll need to begin this recipe 24 hours ahead to dry-brine the turkey.

You'll need

1 5kg turkey, wings tucked under ¼ cup each (firmly packed) oregano and sage, plus extra sprigs for stuffing and leaves for pan juices 2 tbsp (firmly packed) thyme, plus extra sprigs for stuffing and leaves for pan juices Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, lemon reserved to stuff turkey 1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 2 tbsp Murray River pink salt 100 gm butter, coarsely chopped, chilled 80 ml dry white wine 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock 2 tbsp verjuice   Cranberry relish 150 ml each red wine and muscat 150 gm dried cranberries 280 ml cider vinegar 180 gm (1 cup) raw caster sugar 2 Granny Smith apples, coarsely grated 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped Finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange 3 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf ¼ tsp each ground cinnamon and ground cloves 120 gm redcurrant jelly


  • 01
  • Rinse turkey inside and out under cold running water, then pat dry thoroughly with absorbent paper and place on a tray. Carefully loosen skin from breast and legs by running your fingers underneath the skin, being careful not to tear it. Set aside.
  • 02
  • Process herbs, lemon rind, garlic and oil in a small food processor until finely chopped. Carefully spread underneath skin, over the breast and thighs. Rub salt into skin of turkey (including underneath and inside cavity, then loosely tie legs together and place uncovered on a non-reactive tray and refrigerate to dry-brine (24 hours).
  • 03
  • For cranberry relish, bring red wine and muscat to the boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add cranberries, remove from heat and set aside to soak (30 minutes). Add vinegar, sugar, apple, onion, lemon rind and juice, herbs and spices to the cranberry mixture, bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, then simmer until slightly thickened (25-30 minutes) Stir in redcurrant jelly and simmer until slightly jammy (6-8 minutes). Transfer to sterile jars, seal, cool and refrigerate until required. Makes about 3 cups. Cranberry relish will keep refrigerated for a month.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Place turkey in a roasting pan and stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, stir half the butter and half the wine in a saucepan over low heat until melted and combined, then set aside. Pierce reserved lemon all over with a skewer. Untie turkey legs, stuff with reserved lemon and extra herbs if desired, truss legs firmly together and roast turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 170C and roast, basting turkey occasionally with butter mixture, until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer (2-2¼ hours; cover turkey with buttered foil if it starts to darken too quickly). Transfer turkey to a tray and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  • 05
  • While turkey rests, tip pan juices into a jug, stand for 10 minutes for fat to rise to surface, skim off fat, then transfer pan juices to a saucepan, add stock and simmer until reduced by half (4-5 minutes). Add verjuice and remaining wine, simmer until reduced by three-quarters, then whisk in remaining butter a little at a time until emulsified. Strain, stir in extra herbs, season to taste with freshly ground pepper (it’s not likely you’ll need any salt) and serve alongside roast turkey with cranberry relish.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people

Featured in

Dec 2013

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