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
- 300ml medium white wine
- 600ml good stock
- 2 tsp redcurrant jelly
MethodWash 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.
- 1x2-2½ kg/4lb 8oz-5lb 8oz turkey breast, skin removed
- 2-3 tbsp cooking oil, plus extra for greasing
- 16-20 thin rashers rindless streaky bacon
- 450g puff pastry, home-made or bought
- flour, for dusting
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- knob of butter
- 350g turkey trimmings (from breast)
- 225g pork sausage, skinned
- 2 eggs
- 150g dried cranberry, chopped
- 150g unsweetened chestnut purée
- 100g fresh white breadcrumb
- 25g butter, plus extra for the shallots
- 50g shallot or onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 400ml red wine (about ½ bottle)
- 300ml water or chicken stock made with 1/8 stock cube
- 1 heaped tsp plain flour
- Trim the turkey breast. Its natural shape does not suit the rolled and wrapped Wellington. The thicker neck end can first be trimmed to establish a more cylindrical shape. Trimmings from 2kg/4lb 8oz breasts and upwards, will be enough for the 350g/12oz needed for stuffing. Once trimmed, tie the breast with a 2cm/1in gap between each loop of string, to give a rounded shape.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large frying pan or roasting tray. Season the turkey before pan frying until golden brown all over. Remove from the pan and cool. The breast can now be refrigerated to firm up before removing the string.
- Make the stuffing: cook the onions in a knob of butter for a few minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Roughly chop the turkey trimmings before blitzing in a food processor until smooth. Add sausages and continue to blitz for 30-40 seconds until mixed in. Season and add the eggs. These can be blitzed into the meat for a further minute until the texture thickens.
- Spoon the stuffing into a large bowl. Mix in the onions and remaining stuffing ingredients along with extra seasoning, if desired. The stuffing can now be chilled while the bacon and pastry are prepared.
- The streaky bacon needs to be rolled thinner. This extends the length of the rashers helping them to wrap around the turkey and stuffing. The easiest method to follow is to lay 3-5 rashers between two sheets of cling film and press with a rolling pin as if rolling pastry. The rashers will easily thin and extend this way. Peel away the top layer of film and remove the rashers and put on a tray. Repeat until all rashers are pressed. Chill until needed.
- Roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle approximately 45 x 35cm/18 x 14in. The rashers of bacon can be laid on top of the pastry, leaving a 3-4cm/1½in border all round. Slightly overlap the rashers as they are laid on the pastry (you'll need about 14-15 rashers).
- Spread the cranberry stuffing over the bacon, first mixing it well if it is chilled and set. Keep back a few heaped tablespoons. Remove the string from the turkey and lay the breast lengthwise and presentation side down on top of the stuffing. The reserved stuffing can now be spread along the centre top of the turkey. Lift 4-5 rashers at a time and press them against the breast. Continue until all the rashers on both sides have been lifted and pressed. The remaining rashers can now be laid lengthwise along the top, covering the stuffing that was spread there.
- Bring one long side of the pastry up and over the turkey. Brush the other long side with beaten egg, along the 3-4cm/1½in border, then seal. Brush both ends with beaten egg and fold up to seal in all the ingredients. Turn the Wellington so that the presentation side is up and put on a lightly oiled baking tray, or one covered with greased parchment. Chill.
- To cook the Wellington: preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/170C in a fan assisted convection oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes maximum. After 45 minutes, brush the Wellington with egg to help colour the pastry. For the most golden of finishes, brush again before the last 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and rest for 15-20 minutes before lifting carefully on to a carving board with two large fish slices.
- While the Wellington is baking the sauce can be made: melt a knob of butter in a pan, once bubbling add the shallots or onions and cook on a medium high heat until a rich deep golden colour. Add the honey and continue to cook for a few minutes until bubbling and almost caramelising. At this point add the red wine vinegar and red wine. Bring to the boil and reduce by half. Add the water or stock and return to simmer. Mix the flour with 25g/1oz butter. Whisk into the sauce a little at a time until completely whisked in. Return the sauce to the boil before reducing to a simmer and cooking for a few minutes. Strain through a sieve and season. Slice the Wellington and serve with Noisette potatoes and buttered Brussels sprouts.
- 2kg leg of lamb
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- few rosemary sprigs
- few thyme sprigs
- 2kg large potato, such as King Edwards
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 600ml chicken stock
- 50g butter
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cut small pockets into the skin and flesh of the lamb by piercing it with the point of a sharp knife. Stuff each pocket with a slice of garlic and a few leaves of rosemary, or scatter with thyme. Put in a roasting tin, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cover with foil.
- Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, rinse under the cold tap and pile into a large ovenproof dish or roasting tin. Toss with the onions, remaining slices of garlic and a good scattering of herbs.
- Heat the stock and butter together, then pour over the potatoes. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven with the lamb for 1 hr. Uncover, put the lamb on top of the potatoes and roast uncovered for 45 mins more. Allow the lamb to rest before carving, for about 15 mins. Leave the potatoes in the oven (covered, if starting to brown too much) until ready to serve.
- 5-5½ kg/11-12lb turkey
- 2 onions
- 1 orange
- 25g softened butter
- 2 carrots, cut into big chunks
- flat-leaf parsley sprigs, to garnish
- 100g butter, plus extra for the tray and paper
- 2 tsp juniper berry
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 225g fresh white breadcrumb
- 2 eating apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 225g soft pitted prune, chopped
- 25g pack parsley, chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 300ml red wine
- 1 heaped tbsp lingonberry jam or redcurrant jelly
- 600ml turkey or chicken stock
- 25g butter
- 50g whole almond
- 2 eating apples, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Rinse the turkey inside and out, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Weigh the turkey to calculate the cooking time, allowing 40 mins per kg for the first 4kg, then 45 mins for each 1kg over that weight. Cut 1 onion into quarters and the other into 6 wedges. Finely grate 1⁄2 tsp orange zest from the orange and set aside for the stuffing. Quarter the orange and tuck it with the onion quarters into the turkey cavity. Rub the turkey all over with the butter, then season with salt and pepper. Put the onion wedges and carrot chunks in the middle of a large roasting tin and sit the turkey on top. Cover with a loose tent of foil, then roast following your calculated time.
- Make the stuffing. Butter a 28 x 18 x 3cm deep baking tray and crush the juniper berries using a pestle and mortar. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, tip in the onions, garlic and celery, and fry for about 12-15 mins until softened and just starting to turn golden. Stir in the crushed juniper berries, then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs, apples, prunes, most of the parsley (reserve a small handful, to garnish), the reserved orange zest and the beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the stuffing loosely into the baking tray, pat it down gently (don’t pack it down) then lay a piece of buttered baking parchment on top. Set aside. Can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.
- Thirty mins before the end of the cooking time, remove the turkey and increase oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Remove the foil, baste the turkey, then return to the oven for a further 30 mins until golden. If you are roasting potatoes put them in now. To test if turkey is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer – the juices should run clear, not pink. If they are pink, continue to roast, checking at 10 min intervals.
- Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to a warm serving platter and rest, covered loosely with foil, for up to 1 hr before carving. Meanwhile, cook the stuffing, and make apple wedges and gravy. Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake the stuffing for 30 mins, then remove paper and bake for a further 10 mins to brown the top.
- Make the gravy, pour off any excess fat from the roasting tin, leave the juices and onions, and discard the carrot. Stir the wine and lingonberry jam or redcurrant jelly into the tin, scraping up any sticky bits from the bottom. Set the tin over a high heat and bring to the boil, then boil rapidly for 8-10 mins until reduced by half. Pour in the stock along with any resting juices from the turkey, and simmer for 10-15 mins or until reduced to your liking (this makes a slightly thinner gravy). Season, if needed.
- Make the apple wedges. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Tip in the almonds and apples, and fry over a medium heat for about 5-8 mins, moving them around often, until the almonds are toasted and the apples golden and softened, but still holding their shape. Don’t worry if the butter starts to turn a nutty brown, it just adds to the flavour.
- To serve, strain the gravy into a pan, warm through, then pour into a jug. Scatter the stuffing with the reserved parsley and cut into squares or wedges. Garnish the turkey with the apples, nuts and flat-leaf parsley sprigs, and serve everything together.