A Perfect solution to smaller holiday gatherings
For the last several years for our Christmas dinner, we roast a fresh turkey crown (bone-in double breast) that I pre-order from a local butcher (Sanagan’s in Kensington Market). Yes, it may cost much more than a typical turkey but trust me: it is well worth it. I kick it up a notch with a few other tweaks such as infusing the area beneath the skin with an orange garlic sage blend and use a slow roast method that will help keep the turkey moist and flavourful. You can use these tips for a whole turkey; just increase the cooking time and adjust ingredients accordingly.
Ingredients for Paprika Blend
1 medium turkey crown, 6 to 8 pounds
3 tablespoons smoked paprika or paprika of choice
1–2 teaspoons black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
Combine all spices and set aside.
Ingredients for Orange Garlic Sage Blend:
12–15 fresh sage leaves
4–5 garlic cloves
Generous pinch or two of salt
Zest of two oranges
Chop sage, garlic and salt until well minced and then add orange zest and chopped until well combined to resemble a purée. Set aside.
Ingredients for Turkey Base
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
10–12 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
Zest of 1–2 oranges
3–4 cloves garlic, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1–2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper or use 12–15 crushed peppercorns
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
Juice of 2 oranges (optional)
1½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Toss all ingredients except for orange juice and stock, in a large, foil-lined roasting dish until well mixed.
Add juice (if using) and stock to mixture, set roasting dish aside.
Take orange garlic sage blend and gently place this mixture under the skin as evenly as possible. I tend to place on the areas that are most accessible such as the edges to keep from skin lifting too much.
Place turkey crown in centre of roasting dish on top of veggie blend.
Sprinkle paprika blend evenly over top of the turkey and cover dish with foil.
Slow roast turkey crown, covered, on middle rack (or just below if there is not enough space) 90–120 minutes.
Baste two or three times after 60 minutes. Keeping it covered will help keep moist.
Remove cover at 90 minutes. Increase heat to 375°F for 45 minutes. Baste every 12–15 minutes.
Check turkey for doneness at first basting. Click here for some tips to tell how tell when turkey is perfectly done.
When turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165F, broil on low for 5–8 minutes. I leave oven door partially open to char the turkey but not overcook. You may need to broil on high for 5 minutes or so to get desired brownness. You may also need to drop the rack down one level to allow enough space between bird and upper burner as not to burn.
Turn off oven. Leave oven door partially open to allow turkey to cool and rest slowly, about 30–45 minutes. Remove turkey and cover with tinfoil. Set aside until ready to serve.
Drain veggies, reserving liquid. I recommend straining twice: once through a large pasta strainer, then a second time through a fine mesh sieve to get rid unwanted bits.
On stove top, over medium high heat, cook liquid mixture until reduced by half. Taste for seasoning. I tend to add some fresh chopped sage right at the end, cover and turn off.
Once the turkey has rested, carve and serve alongside the roasted veggies.