By Eva Kosmas Flores
Turkey is definitely one of the most versatile proteins around—it tastes great with a very savory accompaniment, but also tastes just as incredible with a very sweet one, or in this case, a sweet-yet-tart one. This flavor comes through in the form of a cranberry-based glaze that also incorporates tart wintery pomegranates and is balanced out by a bit of herbal rosemary. I love placing this glaze on the bird because it helps add an extra boost of flavor to what is otherwise typically a slightly mild bird on its own. I also tend to make a little extra to have on the side to serve along with the bird, so that way if someone is really into the glaze they can feel free to go to town drizzling their cut of turkey with as much of it as they’d like.
Ingredients for Turkey
1 whole large turkey, innards removed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried crushed rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups fresh whole cranberries
1 diced sweet onion
4 cups turkey or chicken stock
8 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
Ingredients for Glaze
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
In a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat, bring the honey, white wine, butter, cranberry juice and pomegranate juice to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Rinse the turkey and pat dry. Vigorously whisk together melted butter, olive oil, rosemary, salt, thyme and black pepper until smooth. Rub the mixture all over the entire outside and inside of the turkey, as well as underneath the breast skin of the bird, taking care not to tear the skin.
Evenly distribute the cranberries and onion on the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast facing up. Stuff (if desired) and tie the turkey’s legs together with cooking twine. Whisk together the turkey stock with 2/3 cup of the glaze and pour the mixture into the roasting pan, around but not over the turkey. Arrange 4 sprigs of rosemary around the bird in the stock and add the bay leaves to the stock in the pan.
Tent aluminum foil over the entire roasting pan, leaving 1 inch between the foil and the skin. Leave a small opening in the tent to allow for basting the bird as it cooks.
Roast for 30 minutes and then lower the heat to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for 15–20 minutes per pound of turkey. Baste the bird every 20 minutes with the pan drippings and baste the bird with the glaze once per hour. Rotate the roasting pan once every hour to help the bird cook evenly.
When the skin of the bird begins to look lightly golden, take the temperature of the turkey, and once it reaches 165 degrees F in the breast, stuffing cavity and thigh, it is safe to eat. If you want to brown the bird a bit more, remove the foil and roast another 10–15 minutes. It will brown very quickly due to the glaze’s sugar content, so keep a close eye on it.
Once removed, place the remaining 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary around the turkey for garnish. Allow the bird to rest for 30 minutes before carving and serving.
For a juicier, more flavorful bird, brine the turkey the night before. Place the bird in a large stockpot and fill it with a brining solution that contains 1 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary for every gallon of water. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged in the brining solution and place it in the refrigerator to soak overnight.