An Embarassingly Easy Twist on Turkey
The big ticket holidays always remind me of dad the most. No doubt he would have said something ludicrous like “the Greeks invented Thanksgiving” or something, but… he was all over big family get togethers, tacky decorations and exceptionally delicious food. I stumbled on Jamie Oliver’s “Chicken in Milk” recipe a few years back and was oddly intrigued at the idea of lemon, cinnamon and milk combined together. It sounded like something Daddy would have made. When it was in the oven I was immediately transported back in time to the mouth-watering scent of his Easter cookies in the oven. From the exact moment that chicken hit my lips, I basically vowed to never have chicken any other way. My husband and I were both sucking the bones dry. It WAS that good!
So, last year I thought I would do something audacious for Thanksgiving and try a similar recipe with turkey. I’ve done it 2 or 3 times for both my Greek and non-Greek family members with raving success. This recipe is almost embarrassingly easy. Tempted to try it? 😉
- 5-7 kg Grade A Turkey
- olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 sprig rosemary, whole
- 4 lemons, zest of
- 1 bulb garlic cloves, seperated with skin left on
- 4 cups milk
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Remove turkey innards. Rinse the bird and dry with paper towel.
- Cover the turkey with olive oil and season it generously.
- Fry the turkey (in the pot) on the stovetop on high for about 3 minutes total, ensuring to turn on all sides for an even golden colour. (This step can be skipped but it locks in the moisture, taste and colour.)
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, cover with tin foil and cook in preheated oven for 3½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. Remove tinfoil for the last 20 mins.
- Pull the meat off the bones and arrange on a serving platter. (You can arrange the whole garlic cloves around the platter too. These are perfect for true garlic lovers to pinch and spread over meat, bread, potatoes...)
- Remove the carcass and return pot to the stovetop.
- Add a little flour or corn starch to the milk mixture to thicken gravy, whisking frequently.
- Pour all the liquid through a strainer into gravy bowl.
- Best accompanied by mashed potato, crusty bread, spinach and roasted root vegetables.