Little secrets of the Esplanada chef Ana Grgić for the perfect Christmas turkey with mlinci

A perfectly roasted and juicy turkey is the Holy Grail of every holiday table. To make the preparation of your Christmas lunch stress-free, we bring you a tried-and-true recipe for turkey with mlinci (thin dried flatbread, similar to pasta), which will become your favourite recipe to prepare time and time again. The great masters’ little secrets were shared with us by Ana Grgić, head chef of Zagreb's iconic Esplanade Hotel.

Ana Grgić, executive chef Esplanade

First of all, to prepare a juicy turkey it is best to choose the one between 3.5 and 4 kilograms. The day before, season your turkey well with salt and cover it with butter. Put the butter under the skin as well – do so by simply separating the skin from the breast meat with your hand or a silicone spatula and stuff a layer of butter into that "pocket". On the outside rub the butter on the skin to get an even layer, but be careful not to break the skin. Cover the turkey with foil and leave it in the cold overnight.

The next day, set the turkey out at room temperature for an hour or two before roasting it. The turkey is roasted at 185 degrees Celsius for 2 to 2.5 hours. It is ready when you poke the fork into the crease between the thigh and the breast and juices run clear. When the turkey is ready, drain the roasting juice, and wrap the turkey in aluminium foil to "rest".

Use one part of the roasting juices to prepare the gravy and the other part to baste mlinci.

For the gravy, take one half of the roasting juices, add a bit of water, fried rosemary and a small amount of butter. Let the sauce come together while you prepare the mlinci.

Cook the mlinci in boiling salted water, strain, place in a baking dish and cover with the rest of the roasting juices. Bake the mlinci at 200 degrees Celsius for about half an hour so that the mlinci are crispy on the outside but juicy and succulent on the inside.

Slice the turkey, pour the rich gravy over the meat and serve with the mlinci.

Bon appétit and enjoy the Holidays!

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