Fancy a buttermilk Turkey – it is really delicious!

I love this recipe for Turkey. It might be a little different to what you have tried before but I can promise that the results are fantastic and you will have clean plates all round the table……and a queue for the turkey sandwiches that night. It is what I will be cooking at home and I really hope you give it a go!

BUTTERMILK TURKEY... I promise you will love this way of cooking Turkey.

BUTTERMILK TURKEY… I promise you will love this way of cooking Turkey.

The picture with this post shows a full turkey but in the recipe we are using the butterfly breast so ask your turkey for an Irish butterfly breast and they will be able to get you what you need.

Buttermilk is an America recipe and possibly the most popular recipe I have ever cooked on telelvision. I have been doing this for the last three years at home and also in the Cookery School and it has gone down a treat.

The buttermilk really tenderises the turkey and also gives it that great flavour. The turkey needs to be marinaded for 24 hours. Then you are going to add that beautiful butter. The harissa paste is a big part of the butter. It comes from Africa and is superb, spicy and beautiful. The great thing about this butter too is that you can use it with so many dishes such as chicken or a baked potato to name just two.

But back to the Christmas dinner! I always serve this with the maple glazed ham from the last blog. A bit of a change from traditional Turkey and Ham but this is a real fool proof recipe. It is what I will be doing this Christmas. So please enjoy.


Mix all the ingredients together in turkey bag for the buttermilk brine and add the turkey crown. Tie up the bag securely and place in the salad drawer at the bottom of the fridge for up to 2 days is best but at least 24 hours.

To make the butter beat the butter until soft and add in the harissa paste. Add in the zest of the lemon, orange zest, garlic, parsley and thyme. Beat until well combined and refrigerate until needed.

When ready to cook the turkey reheat the oven to 190C (375F), Gas mark 5. Prepare the turkey crown, remove the turkey crown from the brine and drain off any excess liquid, then pat the skin of the turkey dry with kitchen paper.

Gently loosen the neck flap away from the breast, pack the harissa butter right under the skin, this is best using gloves on your hands, rub into flesh of turkey well, then recover with skin and secure with a small skewer or sew with fine twine, then cover the top with the rashers.

Place the prepared turkey crown in the oven and calculate your time, 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes. The turkey crown will cook much quicker, so make sure to keep basting; you can cover with foil if it’s browning too quickly. When cooked cover with foil to rest and keep warm. Drain away all but three tablespoons of the cooking juices and reserve.

Skim all the fat from the cooking juices, then pour off all but three tablespoons juices from the roasting tin. Stir the flour into the pan residue and cook, stirring over a low heat until golden. Stir in the onion and thyme and then gradually pour in the stock, stirring all time. Bring to the boil, and let bubble for 2-3 minutes until thickened and the onion has cooked through. Season to taste and , then strain through a sieve and keep warm.

To serve, carve the turkey crown into slices and arrange on warmed plates with the roast potatoes and vegetables. Pour the gravy into a warmed gravy jug and hand around separately.

5kg (11lb) butterfl y turkey or breast (bone out)

1 tbsp chopped fresh fl at-leaf parsley

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

4 rindless smoked bacon rashers

For The Citrus Harissa Butter

Zest of 1 Orange

Zest of 1 lemon

75g Softened butter

1 clove of garlic crushed

2 tsp harissa paste

1 tbsp chopped fl at leaf parsley

2 tsp chopped thyme

For The Buttermilk Brine

2 litres (3 . pints) buttermilk

3 tbsp Maldon sea salt (or kosher)

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 oranges, thinly sliced

1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves and sliced

15g (1/2oz) fresh rosemary sprigs, roughly bruised

For The Gravy

2 tbsp plain fl our

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

450ml (3/4 pint) turkey or chicken stock

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2 Responses to Fancy a buttermilk Turkey – it is really delicious!

  1. John says:

    Neven, I’m always searching for something that makes Turkey moist or at least palatable! One question though, you refer variously in the recipe to using a butterflied breast or the crown (presumably on the bone). Which is it, or which is best?

    Many thanks.

  2. Margaret says:

    Sorry I want use a whole turkey on the bone as love the look of it!! If putting the turkey into bag would I use more buttermilk than the 2 litres to cover turkey?

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