December 30, 2016

Fabulous Friday Flavour: Spiced Roast Turkey

Come end of the year,  rain or shine, a homemade roasted turkey, no matter how elusive that bird could be, will somehow make its way into our home. 

Years and years ago, this turkey thing started off as as an unplanned cooking experiment from us hosting dinner in preparation for a new year cook out which we were to host. It has since became an accidental tradition for our family, usually for New Year’s Day. 

It’s no exception this year, except that turkey came earlier than the previous years. This time, instead of devouring the turkey with mommy-friends, we had this turkey made for the family for Christmas. All 5-kg of it with some left-overs for the new year!

It’s a tried and tested, good ole recipe. THE.BEST. No need for tweaks or add on and really nothing too difficult to attempt.

Gorgeous bird before going to heaventhe oven
Gorgeous-looking bird out of the oven
Oh swweeet meat after the carving


I thought the recipe is worth-sharing again, this time with the gravy recipe added. I assure you this is the most satisfying recipe you would ever need. It’s juicy, it’s moist and nothing like a crispy golden brown skin to indicate the perfection of crispness you’d want from the skin.

All you’ll need is a gorgeous-looking bird, a bunch of spices and a rather spacious work-space before the bird goes to heaven the oven. With a dash of patience.

Spiced Roast Turkey
Serves 10
A delicious, juicy, moist and extremely tender turkey recipe full of flavour with the infusion of spices and goodness. Food fit for the kings and queens of your hearts!
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Prep Time
48 hr
Cook Time
3 hr 20 min
Total Time
52 hr
Prep Time
48 hr
Cook Time
3 hr 20 min
Total Time
52 hr
Brining the Turkey
  1. 5kg turkey
  2. about 6-8 litres cold water
  3. about 250g salt
  4. 400g light brown sugar
  5. 2 pint boiling water
  6. 5 tbsp black peppercorns
  7. 2 cinnamon stick, broken
  8. 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  9. 6 cloves
  10. 3 tbsp allspice berries
  11. 5 star anise
  12. 3 tbsp white mustard seeds
  13. 2 onions quartered
  14. 1 x 5 inches/10cm piece of ginger, cut into 6 slices
  15. 2 oranges, quartered and squeezed to release the juice
  16. 7 tbsp maple syrup
  17. 5 tbsp clear honey
  18. 4 bay leaves torn into pieces
  19. handful fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme)
For basting
  1. 200g butter
  2. 5tbsp maple syrup
  3. black pepper
For gravy
  1. 5 tbsp butter
  2. 6 tbsp flour
  3. 4 leaves of fresh sage, sliced thin (optional)
  4. 2 fresh garlic, pressed
  5. 1 tspn black pepper (milled)
  6. 1.5 beef bouillon cube
  7. 1 chicken bouillon cube
  8. 1 tspn Worcestershire sauce
  9. 1/4 tspn squeeze of lemon (optional)
  10. Half a cup of juices from the turkey
  1. Begin by dissolving the salt and brown sugar in the boiling water. Allow to cool before adding it to a big container for the turkey
  2. Add the brine solution, the water and all of the other brining ingredients to the container you are using. Mix well.
  3. Untie and remove any string or trussing that is attached to the turkey and then wash inside and out under cold water. Now sink the bird into the liquid adding more water if necessary to completely submerge it.
  4. Refrigerate or put into a cool place. We marinated this for 48 hours a cooler filled with ice-cubes and leave it outside in the cold.
  5. Turn the turkey over at least once during this time.
  6. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse inside and out under cold water. Dry thoroughly using kitchen towel. Allow to come up to room temperature for an hour or 2 as this helps to ensure proper and safe heat penetration.
  7. Stuff the inside of the turkey with the leftovers bulk from the brine (not the liquid!): onions, orange, ginger and the herbs. Keep it dry. This helps to lock the flavours in when roasting.
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C
  2. Put the butter and maple syrup into a saucepan together and place over a low heat. Add a stalk of rosemary. Stir until the butter is completely melted and the two ingredients are combined.
  3. Generously brush the maple butter glaze all over the turkey and season with freshly milled black pepper.
  4. In a large roasting tin, place two long lengths of kitchen foil, one width-ways and the other length-ways (forming a rather large “cross”). Place the turkey on top of the foil. Now fold the closest piece upwards and form a pleat where the ends meet above the breast. Then fold the other piece of foil upwards and crimp and fold to create a loose parcel that allows air to circulate around the breast.
  5. Put the turkey into the oven and cook for 40 minutes before lowering the temperature to 180C. Now continue to roast for about another 2 hours.
  6. Remove the turkey from the oven and carefully peel back the foil to expose the breast. Baste with some of the juices from the pan. Turn the heat back up to 220C and roast for about another 20 minutes or the breast is golden brown.
  7. Very carefully lift the turkey from the pan and place on a cutting board. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes loosely covered with foil.
For the gravy
  1. Melt butter and fry garlic with sage briefly.
  2. Stir in bouillon and add water
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (except lemon) Stir well
  4. When the juices from the roasting is ready, add to the mixture.
  5. Lastly a dash of lemon for a little citrussy flavour
  6. Simmer and let it thicken. Or add water if it is too thick
  7. Serve with turkey as a side when the turkey is ready to be served
  1. Turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F/74°C as measured with a food thermometer.
  2. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. At this temperature, the turkey will be cooked perfectly and safely yet remain beautifully moist.
Grubbs n Critters


A new year does not feel like new year without a hearty feast to feed the stomach on such a festive day. After all, we all deserve a little bit of a special treat and it’s always good to get that food for the soul!

Posted by:    |    6 Comment
  1. Pinning this for next year!

    • Thanks for the pin! If you do make it for this year, let me know how that turns out. Happy New Year Shopgirl! (Sorry for the late response!)

  2. Sounds so yummy! As always, I’m impressed with ingredients you use! I love trying out different flavors but agree with you – when you have a trusted and tested recipe that everyone loves, you stick with it. Especially when you have a large, expensive bird to serve, you don’t want to risk trying something new. Unless you had it at friend’s house 😀
    I’m still making mine like my mom used to – with a secret simple ingredient to go inside the bird to keep it moist and flavorful. XOXO

    • try it, try it! I promise you won’t regret it. This recipe was adapted from Nigella Lawson, Queen of Stuff everything. LOL. I love the recipe, too. you are getting me all intrigued. What;s the secret ingredient? Are you every going to share? ;D


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