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Christmas Turkey recipe: Roast turkey with tarragon sauce

I find the traditional Christmas turkey a bit dull, rather complicated, and often not properly cooked, because of all the stuffing inside it. I wanted to liven it up a bit, so here it is:
What you will need
Get a good quality turkey, the size of a large chicken (about 3kg or 3.5 kg) if you have many guests, it is better to roast two small turkeys side by side in a large roasting pan

You will also need (for one turkey) a good bunch of fresh tarragon (they come in small pack in supermarkets)
one half of a medium size onion, a clove of garlic or two, a bunch of fresh thyme, a bay leaf, salt and pepper, some cold pressed olive oil and a large glass of dry white wine

An optional item is a chicken stock cube (Knorr or Maggi will do)

Roasting time is about 2 and a half hours, resting time after taking the bird off the oven is about 45 minutes.

I find that stuffing is not necessary with tis recipe, instead you can make a preparation of two shallots, one clove of garlic (crushed or finely chopped), 200gr chicken liver Chopped, 200gr of minced pork, 1 large egg or 2 small, 100gr of soft bread soaked in milk, some freshly chopped thyme, sage, or a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs, one dry bay leaf crushed into powder, salt, pepper, a small glass of brandy (optional) and a dash of cream.
This will be cooked separately in a water bath

For the sauce, you will need two large shallots, or four small ones, chopped very finely, a generous bunch of tarragon, and a small pot of single cream.

This roast turkey is to be served with roast potato, Brussels sprout or green vegetable
To prepare and cook the stuffing
In a pan, gently fry in butter or olive oil the finely chopped shallots with the crushed garlic, crushed bay leaf, until very soft.
Chop your chicken livers, and mix with the mince meat, add the cooked shallots, salt, pepper, dried mixed herbs or chopped fresh thyme, egg, glass of brandy, soft bread some in milk.
Mix all the ingredient well, and try it by cooking a small amount in a frying pan and taste it for seasoning; adjust seasoning if necessary.
line a cake tin with grease proof paper, fill it with your mixture, cook in a water bath (bain-marie)for 45 minutes. Check that it is cooked properly by inserting a knife in the centre, on taking it out, the knife should be hot to the touch, with not much sticking on it.
You can let it cool off a bit, then tip it over on a plate or chopping board, remove the grease proof paper carefully, then cut slices about one centimetre thick; when serving, they will go on the plate next to the turkey.
To prepare the sauce
In a saucepan, cook gently thee finely chopped shallots with a little olive oil, until soft.
When the shallots are cooked, add a glass of water, bring to the boil, add all the carefully picked tarragon leaves, (do not put any of the stems) if you prefer, the leaves can be chopped roughly.
cover with a lid, and let the tarragon infuse off the fire.
when they turkey is cooked, add the juice from the pan, after all the fat has been taken off.
Add half of the pot of single cream, and simmer gently with the lead off, so that the sauce reduce by a third.
check seasoning, add a little salt if necessary, and a generous amount of ground black pepper.
Take off the fire, add the rest of the single cream, your sauce is ready

To prepare the turkey and roast it:

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On a rack, in a roasting tray, place your turkey breast up. (if you are cooking two, place them side by side, and proceed in the same way for each bird)
Rub salt and pepper in the cavity, add half a medium size onion chopped in 2 or 3 pieces, a generous bunch of thyme, sage and a bay leaf, one or two cloves of garlic.
Rub the skin first with olive oil, then with salt or:
crush your chicken cube in a small bowl with a teaspoon of hot water, mix with a teaspoon of olive oil (or two) to get a paste that you can easily rub all over the turkey.
turn your turkey breast down ,carefully to avoid anything coming out of the cavity, roast for two and half hours, gas mark 5
After one and half hour, tun the turkey breast side up, baste it a bit with the fat at the bottom of the pan, or with a little melted butter, add to the bottom of the pan the large glass of dry white wine, and the same amount o water.
cook for another hour, add more wine and water if it evaporate too quickly.
Once the turkey is cooked, take it out of the tray, place it in the serving dish, and cover immediately with aluminium foil, the shiny side toward the bird, make sure the turkey is completely wrapped in the aluminium foil, leave for 45 minutes.
In the tray, you should have about two glasses of liquid that you need to transfer in a bowl, after two minutes, with a table spoon, remove all the fat that is floating on the top of the liquid.

If your turkey is properly cooked, once it has been wrapped in foil, you should see some clear liquid at the bottom of your dish; you can add this liquid to your tarragon sauce.

Tarragon sauce

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I think green beans are better than brussels sprout for this recipe, but it is a matter of personal taste; when ready to serve, put on a plate a slice of turkey and a slice of stuffing side by side, then some roast potatoes and some green beans
Serve the sauce separately or pour a small amount on the slice of turkey only
Turkey left-over:
Very simple: map a big bowl of pasta, mix the left over meat chopped, and the tarragon cream serve immediatly
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Pj Cousin is a full member of the British Acupuncture Council and of the Unified Register of herbal Practitioners

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