Dry-brined turkey crown

Dry-brined turkey crown
  • Serves icon Serves 8-10
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min. Oven time 2 hours 30 min, plus resting and 24 hours brining

Opting for turkey crown this Christmas? Choosing the crown rather than the whole bird reduces the cooking time. The herby dry brine in this recipe ensures the meat stays juicy during cooking, adds extra flavour and helps the skin crisp up to boot. We’ve included steps to make a stellar turkey gravy with the roasting juices, too.

Crisp and golden roast potatoes on the side?

Nutrition: Per serving (for 10)

Calories
909kcals
Fat
27g (7.4g saturated)
Protein
145g
Carbohydrates
6g (3.1g sugars)
Fibre
2.7g
Salt
1.2g
Calories
909kcals
Fat
27g (7.4g saturated)
Protein
145g
Carbohydrates
6g (3.1g sugars)
Fibre
2.7g
Salt
1.2g

Ingredients

  • 5kg free-range turkey crown
  • 70g sea salt flakes
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 sage sprigs
  • 2 oranges

For the gravy

  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions
  • ½ head celery
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20g woody herbs (such as thyme, sage and/or rosemary)
  • 1 bottle (750ml) dry white wine
  • 15g dried mushrooms, soaked in 300ml boiling water
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • Splash light soy sauce
  • Splash red wine vinegar

Method

  1. Remove the wings by turning the crown upside-down and, using a strong sharp knife, cutting through the joint where the wing meets the main body of the bird. Keep the wings and giblets in the fridge for later. Put the salt, sugar, rosemary and sage in a food processor or pestle and mortar, whizz/crush together, then zest in the oranges. Pat the crown dry all over with kitchen paper, then generously apply the rub, including inside the cavity. Leave in the fridge, uncovered, to dry-brine for 24 hours.
  2. The next day, heat the oven to 180ºC fan/gas 6. Roughly chop the wings and giblets, tip into a large baking tray with the oil, toss to coat, then roast for 10 minutes. Roughly chop the onions, celery and leek, then add to the tray with the garlic, stir to coat in the oil and roast for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, give the turkey a wipe with kitchen paper to get rid of excess salt and most of the herby bits (as they can burn and turn bitter). Sit the crown on top of the roast veg/turkey bits, then add the peppercorns, herbs, wine and dried mushrooms (plus any soaking liquid). Roast for 2 hours. Baste the turkey with the liquid in the tray every 30 minutes and, when you’re happy with how golden the skin is, cover the whole tray with foil (this creates a steamy environment, helping the bird stay moist). The crown is cooked when any juices run clear rather than pink when a long knife is pushed into the thickest part of the breast. Once cooked, transfer the turkey to a clean tray or platter, cover with the foil and rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  4. To make the gravy, strain off the liquid into a jug and put the tray with the veg over a medium heat (or transfer the veg to a pan, if your tray isn’t hob-safe). Add the flour to the veg and stir to coat, then slowly stir/whisk the liquid back in to create a thickened gravy. Strain through a sieve, pressing down on the veg and turkey bits to squeeze out all the flavour, then taste and season with soy sauce and vinegar. Carve the turkey, then serve with piping hot gravy and your favourite sides.

delicious. tips

  1. A dry-brine (essentially a cure) is much easier to manage than a wet brine (finding a vessel large enough to hold the bird is tricky enough, never mind fitting it inside your fridge). This way you just use a herby salt rub, which not only seasons the bird throughout and adds extra flavour, but also helps the skin crisp up while ensuring the flesh retains its moisture as it cooks.

    Use soy sauce to season the gravy instead of salt for extra umami and a richer colour.

Recipe By

Pollyanna Coupland

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