This turkey was so moist and tasty, I wouldn’t wait until next year to test it out. Perhaps a Christmas roast? 

5 kg (12 lb) turkey

200 g herb butter

2 apples, 2 fennel bulbs, 1 white onion, cut into wedges

6-7 garlic cloves, skin off

handful of fresh sage leaves

bottle of apple cider (the alcoholic kind)

If possible, brine the turkey the day before for 10-12 hours in 1 part kosher salt, 3 parts water.  Cover completely with the saline solution and either refrigerate or place in a cool dark spot while brining.  

To roast, rinse turkey and pat dry.  Starting at the base of the breast, just above the cavity, slowly massage the skin away from the fleshy breast.  Using a circular motion and soft but steady pressure, extend your hand along the length of the breast along the breastbone and then down to the wing, until the skin is completely separated from the meat (but still intact).

Slather herb butter along the breasts under the skin, then vigorously rub butter on the entire exterior of the turkey. Yes, vigorous rubbing is key; really work it into the skin.  Rub interior with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and stuff with apple, fennel, onion and garlic.

Pour apple cider in the pan and roast, basting every 45 mins.  After 1.5 hrs, remove half the liquid in the pan and reserve for gravy (I simmered mine with the turkey neck, water, carrots, fennel stems, and a few chicken bones we had left over from a roast the previous weekend). 

Cover top of breasts and drumsticks with aluminum foil as they begin to brown.  Remove from the oven when turkey reaches 78C internal heat, rest for 30 mins and carve. (Mine took ~3.5 hours)

Serve with gravy (thickened with 1 tbsp flour) and baked applesauce (recipe to follow).

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