Brine the turkey: for a juicy, tender turkey, you can brine it before cooking. Place the turkey in a container deep enough to entirely submerge the bird in the brine. Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 l of boiling water and then add the mixture to 6 to 8 l of cold water. The sugar in the brine will help caramelize the skin as it roasts. Pour the liquid over the turkey and add bay leaves, fines herbes and any other condiments you want, as your personal touch. Leave the turkey in the brine for about 12 hours, at a temperature of between 0°C and 4°C.
- After 12 hours, take the turkey out of the brine, rinse it off with cold water and dry it well before cooking.
- Place the turkey in a large ovenproof pot with the broth: once the turkey has been brined (or if you did not brine it, simply dry it off), place it on its back, with the breast up, in an ovenproof pot.
- Pour in enough poultry or vegetable broth to cover the turkey halfway up its wings.
- Add the onions, garlic and carrots, or your choice of other root vegetables.
- Cook the turkey: preheat the oven to 350°C. Cover the turkey with a lid or aluminium foil and let it cook for 20 minutes per lb. or 40 minutes per kg. Baste every 30 minutes so that it remains juicy. Take off the lid or foil at the last 35 minutes so that it will roast to a golden-brown colour. The turkey is cooked when the interior reaches 82°C (if stuffed) and 77°C (not stuffed). If you aren’t sure, try twisting the thigh. If it gives way easily, your turkey is cooked! You can also cook your turkey in a cooking bag. In that case, you don’t have to baste it and your pot will stay clean. You can find cooking bags at the grocery store. They are made of parchment and keep the turkey moist throughout the cooking process.
- Turn off the oven and let the turkey rest inside for about 15 minutes, then 10 minutes outside the oven, covered. It is ready to be served after 25 minutes.
Practical advice for stuffing your turkey
- To stuff it under the skin: position the thighs in front of you, lift the skin on the breast carefully so as not to tear it. It will lift easily and no incision is necessary.
- Brush with butter, garlic and fines herbes or place slices of pancetta or bacon with your choice of finely chopped fresh herbs.
- For a carnivore stuffing: use ground meat, such as pork, or a mix of pork and veal, or pork, veal and beef.
- To the meat, you can add dried fruit, nuts, quartered potatoes, cubes of bread or chopped fresh herbs… let your imagination run wild! Place the stuffing inside the turkey or cook it separately to serve as a side dish.