roast turkey with pear and potato gratin

  • 1 cup (175g) brown sugar
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 bulb garlic, halved
  • 2 cups (600g) rock salt 
  • 1 cup (250ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 5cm-piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • 5 litres water
  • 1.25 litres dry ginger ale 
  • 5kg turkey
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • cranberry sauce, to serve

pear stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 William pears, peeled and chopped 
  •  cup rosemary leaves, chopped
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup (95g) stem ginger+, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon Djion mustard
  • ½ cup (80g) toasted pinenuts
  • 4 cups (280g) sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg

pear and potato gratin 

  • 2.5kg sebago potatoes, peeled 
  • 4 William pears, peeled
  • ½ cup (125ml) hot single (pouring) cream 
  1. Place the sugar, onion, garlic, salt, vinegar, ginger and 1 litre water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour the brining liquid into a large (10-litre-capacity) non-reactive container++. Add the ginger ale and remaining water and stir to combine. Using your hands, carefully loosen the skin of the turkey at the breasts. Place the turkey, breast-side down, in the brining liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours (but no longer). 
  2. To make the pear stuffing, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes. Add the pear, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Place in a large bowl with the ginger, mustard, pinenuts, breadcrumbs and egg and mix well to combine. Remove the turkey from the container, discarding the brining liquid. Pat the turkey dry and spoon the stuffing into the cavity. Carefully spread the butter under the turkey skin, tie the legs with kitchen string and tuck the wings underneath. 
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). To make the pear and potato gratin, lightly grease a 40cm x 29cm deep-sided oven tray. Layer the potato and pear in the tray, sprinkling with salt. Pour over the hot cream. Top with the turkey. Cover with aluminium foil and cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil, reduce heat to 180°C (350°F) and cook for 1 hour or until the turkey is golden and juices run clear when tested with a skewer. Cover with aluminium foil and set aside to rest for 20 minutes before serving. Serves 6–8.

+ Stem ginger is ginger that has been preserved in sugar syrup. It is available from specialty grocers and Asian supermarkets. If unavailable, you can use crystallised ginger instead.

++ Non-reactive materials include glass, plastic or stainless steel.

RATE THIS RECIPE:
Reader ratings (2.50) 215021
Trudy-Ann King

The turkey was superb. Super juicy and supremely golden. The gratin was OK.

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