It can be difficult to get a large, whole bird in Australia before December. In the past, I have been able to order a 10-12 kilo bird from IGA or Coles. We have a smaller oven this year, so I did with a 7 kilo bird (about 15 pounds). It was delicious! This year, I pre-ordered some large turkey roasting bags (I usually can get them on ebay or I pick them up for pennies when I visit North America). I used one bag to brine and another to bake. Here is what I did:
1 part brown sugar to 4 parts salt (I used ½ cup brown sugar and 2 cups kosher salt)
4 cups salt-free vegetable broth (stock)
½ cup chopped fresh sage
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 heaping teaspoon of dried thyme (couldn’t find fresh, and this worked out well)
2 tsp whole peppercorns
On a stovetop, combined the vegetable broth, sugar and salt in a saucepan and warm to help the sugar and salt melt. Cool completely.
Place the turkey in the bag and pour in the vegetable broth mixture. Add the herbs, then add enough water to almost cover the bird—being sure to leave space to close the bag. Place the bag in a small esky / cooler / box / pan that is large enough to hold the bird. Place in the refrigerator for 12- 18 hours, turning once.
Remove turkey from the brine, and pat the bird dry.
½- cup shopped sage leaves
6-8 fresh sage leaves
2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced very thin.
2-4 strips of bacon
¼ cup sugar from beetroot (beet sugar is becoming more common, and adds a rounder flavour to the turkey. If you are unable to find it, feel free to substitute honey or cane sugar)
Loosen the skin on the turkey breast. Place 1 sage leaf under one thin slice of apple. Gently slide the sage an apple under the skin, doing the back by the legs first, then working your way to the front.
Generously butter the turkey breast, and place the turkey in the cooking bag. Turn the bag over, so the breast side is down.
Being careful to work inside the bag, use toothpicks and strips of bacon to secure the wings. This is done by placing a strip of 1-2 strips of bacon over the wing, and pinning the bacon to the bird with the toothpick.
Sprinkle remaining apples, sage and parsley over the bird. Secure the bag, and make small holes in the top.
Bake at 325°F/ 160°C for 4 ½ to 5 hours.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Drain the liquid, and remove bacon, toothpicks, and any visible apples pieces. Get your portion immediately or you’ll lose out! No gravy needed! (It was eaten too fast for me to take a photo!)