Christmas 2022: Try Chef Sandeep Kalra’s Special Turkey Recipe
Image Credit: Citrus-marinated roast turkey

Christmas is the time of getting together with friends and family, eating to your heart’s delight, and merrymaking. The most essential part of these celebrations is the Christmas dinner or festive feast, the preparations for which begin days in advance. One dish that is emblematic of the holiday season is Roast Turkey.  

For the unversed, the tradition of eating turkey on Christmas Day is believed to have started by King Henry VIII, after turkey became easily available in Britain. He made the bird a festive staple and the idea of roasting and stuffing the turkey with delectable fillings became a common practice. Along with turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, brussels with chestnuts, and sage are also served.  

To amp up the delicious taste of turkey, Chef Sandeep Kalra - Director of Culinary at Pullman, New Delhi, Aerocity - has shared a citrus-marinated turkey roast recipe for Christmas.  


For brined turkey: 

    1 gallon water 

    2 cups apple cider 

    2 cups kosher salt 

    2 cups sugar 

    One 15-pound fresh turkey (giblets and neck reserved) 

For marinade: 

    10 roasted garlic cloves 

    10 raw garlic cloves 

    1¾ cup canola oil 

    ¾ cup fresh orange juice 

    ¼ cup cider vinegar 

    ¼ cup kosher salt 

    3 tbsp fresh lime juice 

    3 tbsp dried oregano 

    3 chipotles in adobo 

    2 tbsp annatto paste  

    1 tbsp ground cumin 

    1 tbsp ground allspice 

For turkey: 

    9 cups chicken/turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth 

    3 tbsp canola oil 

    Reserved turkey giblets and neck (liver discarded) 

    3 shallots (coarsely chopped) 

    2 carrots (coarsely chopped) 

    2 celery ribs (coarsely chopped) 

    1 onion (coarsely chopped) 

    10 roasted garlic cloves 

    8 black peppercorns 

    2 tbsp unsalted butter 

    2 tbsp all-purpose flour 

    Salt and freshly ground pepper 


    In a large bowl, stir the water, apple cider, kosher salt and sugar until the salt and sugar are dissolved.  

    Line a stock pot with a large, sturdy doubled plastic bag. Put the turkey in the bag, neck first.  

    Pour in the brine and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

    Remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet.  

    In a blender, combine the roasted garlic with the 10 raw garlic cloves, the vegetable oil, orange juice, cider vinegar, kosher salt, lime juice, oregano, chipotles, annatto paste, cumin, and allspice.  

    Puree until smooth. Slather the turkey inside and out with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. 

    Preheat the oven to 325°. Lift the turkey out of the marinade and set on a rack in a roasting pan.  

    Brush the breast with some of the marinade. Pour 1½ cups of the stock into the bottom of the pan and cover the turkey very loosely with foil.  

    Roast the turkey for 2 hours. Remove the foil and add another 1½ cups of the stock to the pan.  

    Continue roasting for about 2½ hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 175°. 

    In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the giblets and neck and cook over moderate heat until browned. Transfer to a plate. 

    Add the shallots, carrots, celery and onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Return the turkey parts to the saucepan.  

    Stir in the roasted garlic brine and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

    Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and remove the rack from the pan. Pour the pan juices into a bowl and skim off the fat, reserving 2 tablespoons.  

    Transfer the reserved fat to a saucepan. Add the butter and flour and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until golden brown, 2 minutes.  

    Add the enriched stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the gravy is reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes. 

    Place the roasting pan over one burner on high heat. Add the strained, defatted pan drippings (there should be 1 cup) and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  

    Strain the pan drippings into the gravy and season with salt and pepper; keep warm. 

    Carve the turkey and transfer the slices to a platter. Serve with the gravy.