Bay & orange roast turkey

Bay & orange roast turkey

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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3hrs 45mins - 5hrs

Skill level

Moderately easy


Serves 8

Brushing the turkey with a last-minute sticky glaze means your bird will be golden and looking its best when you bring it to the table

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info


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  • 4½ kg-6kg turkey
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 4 oranges, 2 zested and juiced
  • 450g stuffing (see 'Goes well with')
  • bunch bay leaves
  • 250g shallots, unpeeled and thickly sliced
  • 850ml chicken stock
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp Marmite

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  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Remove giblets, then wash and dry the turkey, removing any remaining feathers. Mix half the butter with the orange zest and plenty of seasoning. Lift up the skin at the neck end of the turkey and use your fingers to ease the skin away from the breasts. Gently smear some of the zesty butter over the breasts and under the skin. Pack the stuffing into the neck opening and secure the skin closed with skewers or cocktail sticks. Weigh the turkey at this point and write it down so you can work out your timings, then rub the rest of the zesty butter all over.
  2. Stuff the 2 whole oranges into the cavity with some bay leaves. Pile the sliced shallots and a few more bay leaves into a large roasting tin and sit the turkey on top. Pour 500ml of the stock around, cover with foil to make a tent over the turkey, then roast for 20 mins per 450g/1lb.
  3. Meanwhile, bubble the remaining butter, orange juice and sugar together until syrupy. With 30 mins cooking time to go, remove the foil, brush the turkey liberally with the syrup, then return to the oven to brown at 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Brush once or twice more while roasting. To test that the turkey is ready, pierce the thigh in its thickest part and make sure the juices run clear. Lift the turkey out, brush again with syrup and leave to rest, covered loosely with foil, for 20 mins or so while you make the gravy and finish cooking the veg.
  4. Pour the tin juices into a jug (keeping shallots and bay in the tin), then put the roasting tin over a flame. Stir in the flour, then gradually stir in the remaining stock Marmite and reserved turkey juices – skimmed of any fat. Bubble until a nice consistency, then strain into a saucepan, squishing the shallots with a masher to squeeze out all the flavour. Keep the gravy warm while you carve the turkey to serve.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2010

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lizleicester's picture

Fantastic way to cook a Christmas turkey. Changed the timings to accommodate a pre-lunch walk: 1 hr at 160, followed by 3 hrs at 100 and then a good long "rest" under silver foil and a few tea towels while the veg was prepared. Perfect result. The orange zest made a delicious change.