Try this Turkey recipe, with a touch of Nafas

Chef Noel adds a few tips and tricks that will come in handy

By CT Desk

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Published: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 6:39 PM

Turkey with a touch of Nafas by Chef Noel of Nafas Beirut

Serves: 12 to 15


Turkey and gravy

A Whole Turkey weighing 6-7kg; neck and giblets removed

Red onions - 500g; peeled and quartered

Carrots - 200g; coarsely chopped

1 Bay Leaf - 20g

Potatoes - 1kg; peeled and chopped

Chicken Breast - 600g; diced into cubes

White Bread - Half loaf; sliced

Oranges - 2

Lemon - 1

Water - 5 litres

Chicken Stock - 1 litre

Cooking Cream - 1 litre

Butter - 200 g; softened/room temperature

Fresh Thyme - 20g

Fresh Parsley - 20g

Cardamom seeds - 10g

Black Pepper - 2g

Fresh Rosemary - 20g

Salt - 70g

Mixed nuts - for garnish (optional)

Oriental rice

Long grain rice - 2 cups

Vermicelli - ½ cup

Olive oil  - 2 tbsp

Salt - ½ tsp

Cinnamon powder - ¼ tsp

Chopped parsley to garnish

Water - 4 cups

Toasted mixed nuts including pistachios, almonds and cashew nuts


Turkey and gravy

Place the turkey into a large container or pot. Add the sliced oranges and lemons to the same container and fill it with water so the turkey is well immersed. Now place the container in the refrigerator and leave it overnight.

Remove the turkey from the water and pat it dry using a paper towel. Keep it aside.

Cut the chicken breast into small cubes and add them in a food processor alongside fresh thyme, black pepper and half of the rosemary. Process it until the mixture becomes a paste, and then place the mixture into a bowl.

Take the sliced white bread and remove the crust. Now, cut the bread into small pieces and mix it in with the chicken mixture.

Open the cavity of the turkey and evenly place the mixture inside. Ensure it is compressed and well distributed.

Take the softened butter and rub it evenly over the turkey.

Slice the peeled potatoes into 1 inch slices and evenly spread them on the bottom of the shallow oven tray. Place the turkey (breast side down) over the roasting rack atop the tray, and fill the bottom with the chicken stock and remaining rosemary ensuring the potato slices are well doused.

Place the tray in a preheated oven (150 degrees) and cook the turkey for 3 hours. Once cooked, increase the oven temperature to 200 degrees and cook until the skin is crispy golden.

For the gravy, pour the liquid out of the tray and into a pot. Cook over a flame and simmer until it slightly thickens.

Serve the turkey over a bed of oriental rice, garnished with mixed nuts (optional).

Oriental rice

Rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium non-stick pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the vermicelli pasta and stir frequently until it cooks to a deep golden-brown colour. Be careful not to burn it.

Transfer the rice over the cooked vermicelli and stir to combine the two while coating the rice with the olive oil. Season with salt and a dash of cinnamon, if desired.

Add 4 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. The water will reduce in the process. Bring it to a low flame, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.

When the rice is fully cooked, remove from the heat and allow the rice to steam for 5 minutes. Then uncover and fluff with a fork.

Serve warm with fresh parsley, and toasted nuts, if desired.

Tips by the chef to give your Turkey that unique touch of Nafas

Thaw Thoroughly

When purchasing a frozen turkey, it's crucial to ensure it's fully defrosted before cooking. This guarantees even cooking and avoids potential food safety issues.

Butter Bath for Moisture

Covering the turkey generously with butter not only adds flavour but also locks in moisture. This results in a succulent turkey with a beautifully golden skin!

Temperature is Key

Exercise precise temperature control throughout the cooking process. A consistent oven temperature ensures that the turkey cooks evenly, preventing dry spots and ensuring thoroughly cooked meat.

Brine Overnight

The secret to an exceptionally flavourful turkey lies in brining. Brine your turkey overnight (or longer!) to infuse it with delicious flavours and to ensure a juicy, tender outcome.

Rest for Juiciness

Allow the turkey to rest for at least 15 minutes after cooking. This crucial step allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavourful turkey when carved.

Foil Pocket Technique

While covering the turkey with foil is essential, make sure it doesn't touch the skin. Create a pocket by loosely covering the bird to prevent over-browning, especially if your oven's heating element is in close proximity.

Seasoning is Everything

Don't forget to season your turkey generously for that perfect taste. And, of course, extend warm season's greetings to everyone gathered around your table for a festive touch!


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