FESTIVE RECIPE – The Best Roast Turkey, by Brendan Cashman

BRENDAN CASHMAN is an award-winning chef, serial entrepreneur and Cork native who first came to prominence in 2006 after opening Augustine’s on Washington Street. His latest project is Gallo & Galetti, a 70-seater modern Italian eatery that commenced serving in May of this year.


“Years ago I began to brine all kinds of meats and fish in an effort to ‘infuse’ or impart more depth of flavour. In essence, this technique breaks down the muscle filaments, helping to tenderise the meat and allowing the flesh to absorb the flavours in the stock. Brining is making a huge comeback in modern cuisine and is routinely used in Michelin starred kitchens the world over. The traditional Christmas turkey has a tendency to be dry, overcooked and bland; try my approach as an alternative to standard roasting and you’ll be amazed at the difference.” – Brendan Cashman

Day 1 – Make the brine
You need a volume of water large enough to submerge your turkey in – just make sure you allow 10-15g of sea salt (it must be sea salt!) per 100ml of water. Add this salt, 4 star anise, 12 black peppercorns, 3 dried bay leaves and 12 juniper berries. Heat the mixture, allowing the salt to dissolve and the flavours to infuse. Cool, before adding 2 carrots, 1 onion, 3 halved garlic cloves and fresh thyme.

Day 2 – Dunk the turkey
Clean the bird and remove its giblets, trussing, wishbone and Parson’s Nose (i.e. rump!). Use an ‘extra-large’ plastic container (bought from any garden centre) to fully immerse the turkey in brine, before covering and chilling (the container will be too big for your fridge – a secure, outdoor shed will do). Leave the meat submerged in solution for 12 hours only. Remove, wash and pat dry. Discard the

Day 3 – Cook the bird, low and slow
Pre-heat the oven to 90°C. Cut 2 peeled carrots and 1 onion into chunks and toss into the roasting tray along with a bulb of garlic, halved, and 250g fresh thyme. Roll and squash 4 lemons before piercing with a small knife and inserting into the turkey cavity, along with more thyme. Place the turkey in the roasting tray on top of the root vegetables and massage butter into the skin. Season with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Cook until the internal temperature at the thickest part of breast reaches 60°C (7-8 hours later). At this point, remove from the oven and rest for 45 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 240°C. After the resting period, return the turkey to the oven in a new roasting tray and brown for 20 or so minutes.

Once browned, your masterpiece is ready to serve!


For the Bird – Top 5 Turkey Wines

Mont Marçal Blanco 2012 €11.49
Round and juicy Xarel-lo based Catalan blend.

Domaine Baptiste Boutes Merlot 2011 €12.99
Great-value Midi Merlot that is easily confused with plump Saint-Émilion.

Moulin de Gassac Faune 2012 €14.49
Plump, Viognier-based cuvée from Languedoc royalty, Mas de Daumas Gassac.

Tabalí Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2011 €17.99
Silky and lithe Pinot from the cactus-strewn terroirs of Chile’s Atacama desert

La Reine de l’Arenite Fleurie 2011 €17.49
‘Fresh juicy and fantastic value, with soft, squashy red berry and cherry flavours.
Easy drinking.’ Sommelier Wine Awards 2013.


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