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Roasted turkey with rosemary butter, pearl barley stuffing, and cinnamon ginger cranberry sauce

Christine Cushing is revealing all of her expert turkey tips for a flawless family dinner. Now you can wow your family with your culinary skills, and avoid having to listen to those "helpful" tips from your Aunt Mary when she inevitably tries to take over your Thanksgiving kitchen. 



For the roasted turkey:

  • One 5.5-7 kilogram young turkey
  • Several whole sprigs rosemary and thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the pearl barley stuffing:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 large cooking onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 stalk celery, chopped with leaves,
  • 2 large, gala or firm cooking apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 dice
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley
  • Splash brandy, or sweet vermouth
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock (375 ml)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dates
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Several sprigs each thyme and sage
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

For the cranberry sauce:

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup port, optional
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch


For the turkey:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Remove little bag of giblets and  turkey neck from turkey cavity. For additional flavour to pan drippings, roast turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan with turkey.
  3. Place whole sprigs of herbs inside cavity of bird and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine chopped herbs with butter in a small bowl and stir to blend.  
  5. From the neck side, gently run your hand beneath the skin and gently lift it just over the breast are. With your hands or a spoon push the herb butter in this pocket and press the skin down to distribute it . Rub any excess butter on top of turkey.
  6. Roast bird,  on a rack in roasting pan in the lowest rack in oven breast side up, at 325 degrees F. until thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast reads 170 D degrees F.,  about two and a half to three  hours. Time may vary depending on many factors so use this as a guideline.  Cover loosely with foil and keep warm and let rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Garnish platter with fresh sprigs of herbs if desired. 

For the stuffing:

  1. In a large sauce pan or casserole dish, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high setting.
  2. Add the leeks and onion and sauté until soft and golden, about ten minutes.  
  3. Add the garlic , celery and apples and saute until golden, three more minutes. 
  4. Add barley, vermouth, stock dates, thyme and sage . 
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cover. 
  6. Transfer to oven alongside turkey and bake for 40-45 minutes or until barley is cooked and liquid has evaporated. 
  7. Just before serving garnish with celery leaves and chopped parsley. 
  8. Alternatively, it can be cooked entirely on the stove-top.  Step one can be made the day before and placed in fridge until ready to cook.  Simply place in the oven an hour before your turkey is timed to be cooked.  It can also be fully cooked a day before and reheated before serving.

For the sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients and stir well to thoroughly blend corn starch.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce to low. 
  3. Simmer uncovered until thickened slightly and cranberries begin to pop, about 10- 15 minutes. 

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