Christmas Turkey (A La Grecque)

Christmas Turkey (A La Grecque)

Voula, is Greek – 100%, passionately, enthusiastically Greek.

President of the Greek Club of Beirut, she works to promote Greek culture and language to the next generation of Greeks, wherever they are. Voula loves to cook and entertain, introducing Lebanese friends to tasty Greek dishes.

As the Greek Club’s vision statement says, Voula and her fellow club members aim to “play an active role in the Lebanese society, where their Hellenistic roots add a valuable flavor to the diverse
Lebanese culture.”

So why is this wholeheartedly Greek woman in Lebanon? The answer is simple. She loves Lebanon.
She and her Saudi husband consider Lebanon a rich and rewarding place to live. It adds flavor to her life, just as she and her Greek friends add their own special spice to Lebanon.

6-7 kg whole turkey
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 kg onions peeled and cut in half
1/2 kg carrots
6 celery sticks, fresh thyme sprigs
Oranges and lemons for cavities

7 liters water
1 1/2 cup coarse salt
2 tbsp peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1 whole head of garlic cut in half
2 onions sliced
2 oranges cut in half
1 bottle white wine

Bring 1 liter of water, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Cool for 5 minutes and add remaining ingredients. Remove neck and giblets from the turkey and place in a large enough container, cover with brine and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
Preheat oven to 240 C.

Remove turkey from brine mixture and pat dry with paper towels.Tuck wings underneath the turkey. Gently push your fingers and then your whole hand under the skin, pulling the skin away from the meat. Spread the butter under the skin.
Stuff 1 onion, 1 orange, 1 lemon, and 2-3 celery sticks inside the cavity of the turkey.
Tie the legs together with a kitchen twine. Put the vegetables in a roasting pan and place turkey on top. Brush the outside of the turkey with a mixture of the olive olive, orange juice and lemon juice. Cover loosely with parchment paper and aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. Reduce temperature to 180 C. Roast turkey, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes for about 3 hours. Increase temperature to
200 C and roast 30 minutes longer or until golden and juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce with a knife or skewer. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let stand for 30 minutes before carving.

Juices from roasted turkey, strained
3 tbsp flour
1 cup white wine
1 liter chicken stock

Remove turkey and vegetables from pan, leaving the juices and drippings. Place roasting pan on stovetop over 2 burners, add flour and cook 3-4 minutes.
Add wine and stir continuously. Add strained juices and chicken stock.
Boil for 5 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl or gravy boat.

4 tbsp butter
1 onion finely chopped
500 g ground meat
1/2 cup brandy
500 g rice
3 cups chicken stock
Fresh thyme
2 cups chestnuts, boiled, peeled, cut in half
and sautéed
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup raisins
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch cinnamon

In a heavy skillet, sauté onions with butter.
Add ground meat and cook for a few minutes until browned. Add brandy and cook for a few more minutes until evaporated.
Add rice and chicken stock and cook until all liquid has been absorbed. Mix in raisins, chestnuts, pine nuts, herbs and spices. Turn off the fire, cover with a towel and let stand for a few minutes before serving.