Super moist, Slow cooked, Made with butter cheesecloth without basting
This is a no fuss turkey recipe and yet it’s probably the best turkey you will ever taste. There’s no basting required as basting doesn’t do much anyway, except extends cooking time by opening the oven door every 15 minutes. Once the skin has sealed in the juices, the basting is pointless, as the juices simply bead off the skin, just like water on a duck’s back, or should I say turkey? However, preventing the breast from over cooking and drying will make your turkey moist and incredible. So why do we baste? To keep the breast meat cooler which helps prevent overcooking. This is also the science behind the cheesecloth, it keeps the breast meat cooler, stops it from over browning and works even better with the slow ‘less drying’ cooking process. There’s no stuffing in this recipe as that lengthens the cooking time. Best to do your stuffing separately, see my stuffing recipes for ideas. And the gravy? It’s to die for, I kid you not! It’s made with vegetables and enhanced with a dry sherry. As an option, I’ve followed my French tradition by using chestnuts. You can buy fresh chestnuts, sealed bags or even in cans ready to go, so no fussing about here. Ok so I’m making myself hungry just writing this, now off to the kitchen and let’s get this turkey started! It’s so simple! Enjoy my slow cooked cheesecloth turkey with chestnut gravy. Happy Merrydays! Merry Holidays, oh heck! I don’t know what I’m supposed to say anymore, MERRY CHRISTMAS. 😊
1 turkey, size of your choice - displayed is a small turkey is 8.5lbs 3.8 - kg
Cooking Guide for convection (fan) oven. For a standard oven, add another 20 to 25% cooking time.
Metric cooking guide
If the turkey is over 4kg, calculate 25 min per kg + 70 min.
If the bird is under 4kg, calculate 25 min per kg + 50 min.
Imperial cooking guide
If the turkey is over 8 pounds, calculate 25 min per 2lbs + 70 min.
If the bird is under 8 pounds, calculate 25 min per 2lbs + 50 min.
Note this guide is an approximation guide only, as there are different turkey breeds, ovens and conditions that can affect the cooking times. To be certain always use a probe thermometer. Turkeys without stuffing will always cook faster. See below.
For maximum moistness
Best meat temperature to remove turkey from oven is *155ºF - 68ºC. Rest for 60-90 minutes.
*(Recommended for health reason) is 165ºF - 74ºC but the meat will be a little dryer.
Remove turkey from fridge, and bring to room temperature (30 to 60 minutes). Remove the neck plus any giblets or sacks from inside the cavity. If not already done, tuck back the wings underneath to prevent the tips from burning.
Season the cavity with salt. Into the cavity, add two lemon wedges (Use more if a large turkey), thyme and the bay leaves and a little olive oil.
Preheat a very hot oven at 450°F – 230°C.
Pat the turkey dry with paper or clean kitchen towel. Drizzle with olive oil and massage well ensuring the whole bird is nicely coated including underneath. Season with fine salt and finely ground white pepper. If you have a roasting rack, brush it with olive oil and place your turkey on top.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Fold the cheesecloth so you have a large enough rectangle to cover the whole turkey. Soak the cheesecloth in the butter and cover the whole turkey.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to your roasting pan. Roughly chop the carrots, celery and onion and add to pan. Place your stove, on high heat and saute the vegetables. Once they are a little brown, add the chicken stock and a bay leaf. You can also add turkey neck if you have one. Place the turkey with its rack in the roasting pan on top of vegetables.
Place in oven and lower oven temperature to 300°F – 150°C and cook for the correct amount of time. (see guide on this page for cooking times). 30 minutes before cooking time, remove the cheesecloth from the turkey and keep it for later. Turn up the heat to 350°F – 180° and continue cooking for 30 minutes so the skin becomes a nice golden brown. Once cooked, remove from oven, place bird on a hot plate or platter, cover with the same used cheesecloth, foil, add a few kitchen towels to retain the heat. Leave to rest at least 60 minutes before carving.
In the same roasting pan, place on your stove with high heat, add one and a half tbsp of flour to the vegetables and mix well over moderate heat. Add the dry sherry. Remove the neck and strain gravy mixture into saucepan. Use a whisk or a spoon to help the liquid fall through. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer.