For a colourful twist on the classic roast turkey, take inspiration from the Middle East with this version based on sweet-sour pomegranates.
- 1 4kg turkey
- 4 large pomegranates (see note)
- 2 sprigs each of sage, thyme and rosemary, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon, coarsely chopped
- 120 gm butter, softened
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250 ml dry white wine (1 cup)
- 80 ml brandy (1/3 cup)
- 30 ml pomegranate molasses (see note) (1½ tbsp)
- 300 gm cracked wheat (fine burghul)
- 1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 50 ml lemon juice
- 75 ml olive oil
- 2 tsp sumac
- 1½ cups each of (loosely packed) coarsely torn flat-leaf parsley and mint leaves
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1Preheat oven to 180C. Wash turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with absorbent paper. Season cavity with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
- 2Remove seeds from 1 pomegranate using a teaspoon, combine half of the seeds in a bowl with herbs, lemon and half the butter, season to taste and mix to combine. Set aside remaining seeds. Spoon stuffing into turkey cavity and seal with a small metal skewer. Place on a rack in a roasting pan, season to taste and rub with oil. Remove seeds from remaining pomegranates, process briefly in a food processor and strain. Add to pan with wine and brandy. Cover breasts with foil and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, basting frequently. Remove foil and cook for another 35 minutes or until golden and just cooked through (juices should run clear). Remove turkey, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.
- 3Transfer pan juices to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or until reduced to ½ cup, then whisk in pomegranate molasses, remove from heat, season to taste, add reserved seeds, stir to combine and transfer sauce to a jug.
- 4Meanwhile, for cracked wheat salad, place wheat in a bowl, cover with cold water and stand for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain in a sieve, return to bowl, add onion, garlic, lemon juice, oil and sumac and season to taste. Before serving, stir through herbs and green onion.
- 5To serve, carve turkey and serve with cracked wheat salad and pomegranate sauce.
The cooking times given will result in a well-done bird and is based on 35 minutes/kilogram plus 15 minutes extra. If you prefer a juicier breast (where the leg may need additional cooking), allow 30 minutes/kilogram. The resting period is important when cooking turkey and should never be omitted. If pomegranates are unavailable, omit from stuffing and use unsweetened pomegranate juice also available from Middle Eastern grocery stores. Pomegranate molasses is available from Middle Eastern grocery stores and select delicatessens.
Drink Suggestion: Heady, perfumed viognier. Drink suggestion by Max Allen
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