Preparing the perfect Christmas turkey

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Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey on rustic wooden table

Ben McKellar of the Gingerman restaurant group shares the Ginger Pig’s recipe for a perfect Christmas turkey.

Chef-patron Ben McKellar has overseen the kitchen’s of the Gingerman group for over 15 years. Working on menus in collaboration with his four head chefs at the Ginger Pig, Ginger Dog, Ginger Fox and the Gingerman Restaurant, regular diners know they can expect the highest standards of bistro-pub fayre that is both seasonal and local where possible.

To save time and guarantee the perfect roast turkey for Christmas lunch follow Ben’s simple instructions:

1. Buy the best free range bird you can afford, we use Copas Turkeys (www.copasturkeys.co.uk) at the Ginger Pig

2. Brine the bird overnight, To keep the bird moist and succulent, brine it overnight using the following method (based on a 5kg turkey).
– 6 litres water
– 250g maldon salt or half that of table salt
– 300g sugar
– few peppercorns and cloves
– 6 cloves garlic crushed
– large sprig thyme
– bay leaf
Mix all of the ingredients together until the salt and sugar has dissolved, submerge the bird in the brine and leave outside the fridge overnight. On Christmas morning remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with kitchen cloth. Keep the bird at room temperature before cooking.

3. Pre heat your oven to 200ºC for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

4. Peel enough large carrots to fit flatly in the bottom of your roasting dish. These will act as a trivet
for the bird and make delicious roasted carrots to accompany your meal. Place the bird on top of
the carrots, season with salt and pepper, then put a large sprig of thyme and half pack of butter in the cavity. To finish, pour a generous helping of olive oil over the bird before putting into the oven.

5. Roast for approximately 2.5 hours, basting the bird every 30 minutes. When the turkey is cooked the juices will run clear. Remove from the oven and cover with foil then leave to rest for at least 45 minutes. Return the carrots to the oven to brown.

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