Insider Stories

Chef Ian’s Turkey Tips

If you can afford it, splurge for free range non–medicated local turkey (i.e. Ross Down Farms). If not, Canada Grade A will suffice.

Debone your turkey keeping the skin intact and separating the breasts and legs. Water brine your turkey for 24 hours. Always use sea salt or kosher and not table salt. Per 4L of warm water, dissolve 250ml of salt & 175ml sugar. Chill the brine in the fridge until brine is 4C or cooler then add the boned turkey. Food Safe first!

Remove turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towel. Season turkey lightly with sea salt, black pepper & poultry seasoning. Sprinkle the meat side with fine chopped rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage. Stuff a bit of butter under the skin. Form the legs and breast into a roulade and tie off with butcher twine. Roast in a 315F oven until an internal temperature of 165F is reached. Don’t forget to baste throughout the cooking time. Always rest uncovered.  Save the rendered fat to make roux if your planning for a flour thickened gravy and mix drippings in to the roux for the gravy.

For the gravy, you now have the advantage of being able to roast the bones to make a stock from which will form the foundation of your gravy. Line bones on a sheet pan, include the neck. Roast until golden brown. Put the roasted bones and neck in an appropriately sized pot and cover with cold water. Add a bay leaf, fresh thyme sprig and half a white onion. You will notice that I have not suggested celery and carrot which are the usual counter part aromatics. Why? We want the stock to have a clean poultry flavor and not muddled with vegetable nuances. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to a soft simmer and cook out for 2 hours. Strain stock and discard the bones. Strain off excess fat from the roasting pan. Deglaze with a splash of red wine. Add the strained stock and reduce until desired flavor and consistency is achieved. Gravy can be thickened with a corn starch slurry which makes it gluten free. If you find that you need a little more stock due to over reducing top up your stock with a non salted boxed chicken broth. A pinch of finely chopped rosemary and sage is a nice touch to give the gravy pop.

Slice and enjoy!

Ian Thompson