Christmas day dinner wouldn’t be complete without a deliciously juicy roast turkey taking pride of place in the centre of a beautifully dressed dining table
- The stuffing of your choice
- 175g (6oz) softened butter
- 225g (8oz) streaky bacon
- Salt and pepper
- 1 garlic bulb broken into cloves
- 4 red onions, halved
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 pints vegetable or chicken stock
Calculating the cooking time
If your turkey is pre-wrapped from the supermarket it should be clearly labelled with the bird’s weight and cooking instructions.
If your turkey doesn’t come with cooking guidelines you’ll need to use the weight to calculate the cooking time required.
As a guide, your turkey will need around 40 minutes roasting for every 1kg it weighs. Ovens and turkeys all differ, so check your bird is cooked through using a meat thermometer or pierce the thigh and check the juices run clear.
|Please note||If using a frozen turkey is more convenient for you, bear in mind you need to allow the bird to completely defrost at a natural pace, so factor this into your timings for mealtime. Take any wrapping from around the bird and remove the giblets from inside the body before placing in the fridge to defrost.
Using a fresh turkey is best as it avoids the lengthy process of safely defrosting the bird, but before you stick it in the oven, your turkey needs to be brought up to room temperature. Remove it from the fridge and leave it to one side, gently reaching room temperature over a period of 3-4 hours.
- First up, stuffing. Ease your hand into the loose neck skin and gently stretch the skin covering the breast with your fingers. Be careful not to tear the skin, and ease the stuffing in an even layer between skin and breast, and tuck the neck skin underneath to stop any stuffing goodness from leaking out. As the leg meat takes longer to cook, this placement of a layer of stuffing will protect the breast meat from drying out.
- Rub softened butter all over the bird. If you’d like even more flavour from your turkey and an easy way to add some additional colour, you can cover the breast with strips of pancetta or streaky bacon in a simple layered or lattice pattern before seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Sit the turkey in a large roasting tin and surround with four halved red onions, roughly diced celery, two or three chunky chopped carrots, a handful of garlic cloves and a few sprigs of rosemary. Securely cover with tinfoil and place in a hot preheated oven around 220°C/ 425°F/ gas mark 7, before turning the heat down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 for the duration of time calculated for the weight of your bird. Remove the tin foil for the final 45 minutes of roasting to give the bird a nice brown colouring.
- Check the meat is ready by piercing the thickest part of the turkey’s thigh. If the juices run clear your roasted turkey is cooked, if they have pink colouring your turkey will need a little longer and should be returned to the oven and checked every 15 minutes. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and lift the turkey onto a foil covered surface for 30 – 45 minutes to rest before carving.
- This will give you time to check on the progress of your potatoes and vegetables.
- The liquid that has been deposited in the bottom of the tray during roasting can be used to make a quick gravy, so skim the fatty bits from the surface before placing the tin over your hob, adding 2 tablespoons of plain flour and 2 pints of vegetable or chicken stock and bring to the boil. The gravy will start to thicken with the heat, so when you’re happy with the thickness remove from the heat, strain, and serve.