- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 8
Whether you're cooking your first or your fifteenth Christmas dinner, this herb-scented turkey is foolproof and has loads of flavour
- 5kg turkey , giblets removed and kept
- 250g stuffing of your choice
- 3 onions , cut into thick rounds with the skins left on
- generous handful thyme and bay leaves , plus more herbs to put around the bird, to serve
- 50g butter , softened
- 300ml dry white wine
- 1 ½ tsp flaky sea salt
- 1 tsp dried green peppercorns , crushed
- 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
For the gravy
- 300ml medium white wine
- 600ml good stock
- 2 tsp redcurrant jelly
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Wash and dry the turkey, removing any feathers. Lift up the skin that covers the neck opening, then push the stuffing up and under the skin, securing it tightly underneath with a skewer or 2 cocktail sticks. Weigh stuffed turkey, then calculate cooking time, allowing 40 mins per kg (20 mins per lb). Put a few pieces of onion and a few herbs into the cavity, then tie the legs together with string.
- STEP 2
Put the remaining onions in a single layer in the tin, then add a good bed of herbs. Add the neck and all of the other giblets, except for the liver, to the tin, then sit the turkey on top of the herby onions. Coat the breast all over with butter. Pour the wine into the tin, cover with foil, then roast according to your timings. Keep checking the tin – if it looks a little dry, add a splash of water. While the bird cooks, mix the salt, crushed green peppercorns and thyme leaves.
- STEP 3
Thirty mins before the end of cooking, remove the foil. Brush the turkey again with butter, then scatter over and press in the salt, pepper and thyme mix. Roast for the remaining cooking time, uncovered, until golden. To be reassured that the turkey is ready, pierce thigh through its thickest part; the juices should run clear. If not, give it 15 mins more and test again. Remove the turkey from the tin and leave to rest without covering (this will keep skin crisp). The turkey will stay hot for up to an hour, so there’s no need to panic.
- STEP 4
Now make the gravy. Drain the fat and juices from the tin into a jug, keeping the onions but discarding the neck and giblets. Place the tin on the hob, then pour in the wine, scraping up the flavour-filled crusty bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce until the wine has almost all disappeared. Spoon the fat from the juices and discard, then add the juices, onions and stock to the tin. Boil down for about 5 mins until reduced and a little syrupy, stir in redcurrant jelly, then season. Strain into a jug; any resting juices should go in now, too. Lift the turkey onto a platter with the Bacon-wrapped sausages (see recipe below), dotting herb sprigs around to decorate. Serve with cranberry and bread sauces.
If you prefer a thicker gravy, mix 1 tsp cornflour with a splash of cold water, then stir into the gravy until smooth and glossy.
Cut 12 streaky bacon rashers in half lengthways, then wrap around 24 cocktail sausages. Place on a baking tray, then cook at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 20 mins until crisp. Makes 24.