How to Cook Lemongrass Turkey Recipe for the Holidays!
Happy Holidays Season!!
Isn’t this time of year is your favorite? It is mine! I always look forward to November and December for the festive atmosphere, smiles on people’s faces, shopping for holiday decorations, and planning meals for gatherings… Ah, I just LOVE this time of year so so much!
I’m not a massive fan of Halloween (Sorry, my gothic followers!!), but definitely for Thanksgiving, Christmas & New-years!
I really wanted to make some festive turkey recipes again (I made Korean Glazed Turkey Recipe a while ago) for more new and unique ideas for your holiday meal. How to cook the turkey? Actually, easier than you think!
Holiday meals are the ultimate comfort food for my husband, Jacob. I learned about Holidays culture from my in-laws, and my mother-in-law taught me so much about preparing holiday foods. For example, start turkey broth with turkey neck bone as the first step before anything for the most flavorful gravy. Prepare dessert a day before, etc. Such a lovely time and memories.
Although I love holiday meals, it doesn’t give me the “comfort” feeling from my home, Korea. So every year, I try to come up with some Asian flavored holiday recipe ideas. 🧐
This year, I made this Lemongrass Turkey recipe that is juicy, flavorful, and fantastic with other holiday side dishes. It’s “comfort food” for Jacob & me. This is how you create your own cultures and traditions for your own little family that you created.
The BEST part of this recipe is, hands down, the GRAVY!!! I adopted my mother-in-law’s tips and put my flavors.. it ended up the best gravy I’ve ever had!
Lemongrass turkey is also fantastic with my Fried Rice Stuffing!
Are you ready to be festive and learn how to cook lemongrass turkey at home? Let’s get started!
The first thing is first. This is how to cook turkey recipe, so let’s deal with the turkey first!
We are a small family (it’s only me and my husband, Jacob. Sometimes a couple of family members or a small group of friends will visit us.), so I always cook small young turkey about 10 to 12 lb max. You could tell me that I can make turkey breast, but no, no. It must be the whole turkey for me because turkey breast is not done for me – especially for the holiday meal.
Place a young turkey on a working surface. Cut along both sides of the backbone from one end of the turkey to the other with a pair of strong kitchen scissors. You probably have to pop the bones around the thigh areas to go through with scissors.
Remove backbone and tail, keep it for broth along with neck bone. Place turkey cut side down and flat out legs, left and right. Now, with both of your hands, push down on top of the breastbone with your weight until you hear cracks. Now your turkey should lay flat.
I always butterfly the turkey to reduce the cooking time, and it always turns out so juicy, cooked & browns up evenly! I’ll never go back to the traditional whole turkey roasting technique. Plus, I get the backbones to add more flavor to my broth!
In a large pot, add the turkey neck bone, backbone, and tail along with 1 celery stalk, 1 crushed lemongrass, 5 crushed cloves garlic, 1 small shallot (cut into half), 2 oz ginger slices, 1 bay leaf, and 8 cups of cold water. You could use up to 12 cups of water, but I didn’t have any other plan of using the turkey broth, and my pot was too small. So if you want to have extra broth for porridge or noodle soup later, definitely use 12 cups of cold water.
Bring it to a boil over high heat, skim the scums with a skimmer as needed. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 hours. (or even longer, if you have more time.) Make sure to start broth first before anything for the most flavorful gravy.
Chop 2 large lemongrasses super fine with your sharp knife. (Don’t use the top green part, though)
I prefer to chop Lemongrass with my knife instead of a food processor because if you use a food processor, the fiber won’t cut as well as you do with your knife. The fiver, however, after cooking, it’s not chewable. If you have a chopper, slice Lemongrass thinly first, then use the chopper to have the result as you see above.
You can use the rest of the ingredients in the food processor, but I just decided to chop with my hands.
Chop the rest of the ingredients for the marinade. 3 small shallots (or 1 large shallot), 10 cloves garlic, 5 to 8 Thai chilis (optional), 1 oz ginger, and 4 tsp palm sugar. If you don’t have palm sugar, you can use brown sugar instead.
Combine all the chopped ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl.
Add 4 tsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 4 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar, 3 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp cooking oil (avocado, vegetable, or canola oil), 1 stick of temperature butter, and zest from 1 lime.
Rub the butterflied turkey with mixture all over. Make sure to put 2/3 of the marinade under the turkey skin.
Place the turkey on a roasting pan or a large baking pan that is lined with a rack. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey breast. You can cover it and marinate the turkey overnight in a refrigerator or roast it right away.
When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Roast turkey in a preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes.
Cover turkey with aluminum foil if needed after 30 minutes and rotate 180 degrees.
To check the doneness of turkey, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, and it should reach 150°F or into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°F. Remove from oven and let it rest, loosely covered with foil for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, let’s make gravy.
Pour the turkey juice and fat from the roasting pan into a medium saucepan over medium heat. It will be about 5 tbsp. Whisk in 1 tbsp fish sauce and 5 tbsp all-purpose flour and cook until dark brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Whisk in the turkey broth, 1 cup at a time. Add 3 cups for thick gravy or 4 to 5 cups for more silky texture gravy. (I added 4 cups) Reduce the heat to low, simmer the gravy for 5 minutes to combine flavor. Whisk occasionally.
Taste gravy first, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy, fried rice stuffing, sweet & spicy cranberry sauce, and more!
Enjoy & Happy Holidays!
- 1 young turkey (10 to 12 lb)
For the Broth
- Turkey neck bone, back bone and tail
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 lemongrass, crushed
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small shallot, cut into half
- 2 oz ginger slices
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups water
- 2 large lemongrass, chopped finely
- 3 small shallots or 1 large shallots, chopped finely
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 5 to 8 Thai chilis, chopped (optional)
- 1 oz ginger, chopped finely
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 4 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp cooking oil (avocado, vegetable or canola oil)
- 1 stick of temperature butter (8 tbsp)
- Zest from 1 lime
For the Gravy
- 5 tbsp turkey juice and fat from roasting
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 5 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 to 5 cups turkey broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place turkey on a working surface. Cut along both sides of back bone from one end of turkey to other with a pair of strong kitchen scissors. Remove back bone and tail, keep it for broth along with neck bone. Place turkey cut side down and flat out legs, left and right. Now, with both of your hands, push down on top of breastbone with your weight until you hear cracks. Now your turkey should lay flat.
- In a large pot, add turkey neck bone, back bone and tail along with rest of ingredients for broth. Bring it to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 hours. Make sure to start broth first before anything for the most flavorful gravy.
- Combine all ingredients for marinade and rub butterflied turkey with mixture all over. Make sure to put 2/3 of marinade under turkey skin. Place turkey on a roasting pan or a large baking pan that lined with a rack. Tuck wing tips under turkey breast. You can cover it and marinate turkey overnight in a refrigerator or roast it right away.
- When you’re ready to roast turkey, preheat oven to 450°F.
Roast turkey in a preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cover turkey with aluminum foil if needed after 30 minutes and rotate 180 degrees. To check doneness of turkey, insert thermometer into thickest part of breast and it should reach 150°F or into thickest portion of high registers 165°F. Remove from oven and let it rest, loosely covered with foil for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, let’s make gravy. Pour turkey juice and fat from roasting pan into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in fish sauce and flour and cook until dark brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in turkey broth, 1 cup at a time. Add 3 cups for thick gravy or 4 to 5 cups for more silky texture gravy. (I added 4 cups) Reduce heat to low, simmer gravy for 5 minutes to combine flavor together. Taste gravy first, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- Carve turkey and serve with gravy, fried rice stuffing, sweet & spicy cranberry sauce and more! Enjoy & Happy Holidays!
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes