Ensure juicy meat by inserting streaky bacon under the skin of your big bird. A tangy mustard baste creates an extra tasty gravy
- 5-5½ kg oven-ready turkey, neck and giblets removed (save them to make stock, if you like)
- 250g pack dry-cured smoked streaky bacon (about 12 rashers)
- a little mustard (optional)
- drizzle of olive oil
- sea salt flakes
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 large thyme sprig
- a few bay leaves
- glass of dry white wine
- bay leaves and chopped thyme, for scattering
- 85g butter, softened
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
MethodAs a guide, a turkey this size should take 3½-4 hrs plus 30-45 mins resting time.
- 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.
- 5-5½ kg/11-12lb turkey
- 1 lemon
- 4 shallots, halved
- sprig each sage and thyme, plus extra for serving
- 25g softened butter, plus 1 tbsp for the glaze
- 2 medium onions, each cut into 6 thick wedges
- 50g pecan
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 25g butter
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 140g cooked chestnut, finely chopped
- 450g good-quality pork sausage
- 140g fresh white breadcrumb
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tsp chopped thyme leaf
- 2 tsp finely chopped sage
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- 2 tsp grainy mustard
- ¼ tsp soy sauce
- 12 shallots, halved lengthways, or left whole if small
- 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- thyme and sage sprigs
- 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 1.2l turkey or chicken stock
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Rinse the turkey inside and out, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Weigh it to calculate the cooking time, allowing 40 mins per kg for the first 4kg, then 45 mins for each 1kg over that weight. Finely grate 1 tsp zest from the lemon and set aside for the stuffing. Cut the lemon into 4-6 wedges and tuck into the turkey cavity with the shallots and herb sprigs. Rub the turkey all over with the butter, then season with salt and pepper. Put the onion wedges 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. Chop just over half the pecans and reserve the remaining. Line the base of a baking tray or sheet (big enough to take 16 stuffing balls) with baking parchment. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan, tip in the shallots and garlic, and fry for a few mins until softened. Stir in the chestnuts and chopped pecans, then tip into a large bowl and cool. Squeeze the sausages from their casings and add to the bowl with the nut mixture. Add the remaining stuffing ingredients, including the reserved lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Shape the stuffing mixture into 16 balls. Break the remaining pecans into big pieces and press a piece into top of each ball. Arrange balls on the prepared tray, cover with buttered baking parchment and chill until ready to cook. Can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.
- Make the glaze. Mix the honey, mustard, remaining 1 tbsp butter and soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Thirty mins before the end of the cooking time, remove the turkey and increase oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Remove the foil, then return the bird to the oven for a further 10 mins. Remove again, brush the turkey with the glaze, then roast for another 20 mins until golden. If you are roasting potatoes, put them in now. To test if the 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 so it doesn’t stick to the glaze, for up to 1 hr before carving. Meanwhile, cook the stuffing balls and shallots. Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake stuffing balls in the oven for 25-30 mins, removing the paper for the last 5 mins if they need browning.
- Make the shallots. Put the shallots in a small roasting tin, toss in the oil, scatter over a few thyme and sage sprigs, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 mins, turning half way, until shallots are nicely caramelised.
- Make the gravy. Pour off any excess fat from the roasting tin but leave the juices and onions. Sprinkle in the flour, set tin over a medium heat and cook, stirring for a couple of mins to cook the flour, scraping up any sticky bits from the bottom of the tin. Gradually pour in the stock, along with any resting juices from the turkey, and continue to stir until slightly thickened. Simmer gently for about 10-15 mins or until reduced to your liking. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Strain gravy into a pan, warm through, pour into a jug and serve with the turkey. Serve the turkey surrounded with stuffing balls, roasted shallots, and thyme and sage sprigs.
- 50g butter, softened
- bunch fresh thyme or lemon thyme, leaves picked, stalks reserved, plus extra to serve
- 4 garlic cloves, 1 mashed, the other 3 left whole but squashed
- 2 lemons, halved
- 1 chicken, about 1½ kg
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 250ml chicken stock
- splash soy sauce (optional)
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. In a small bowl, mash the butter with one-third of the thyme leaves, the mashed garlic and the juice of half a lemon. Mix everything together with some seasoning and set aside.
- Use your hand to loosen the chicken skin away from the breast, then push most of the butter mix into the gap. Rub the rest of the butter all over the outside of the chicken, then stuff the cavity with the lemon halves, remaining thyme leaves and stalks, and the garlic.
- Scatter the chopped carrot, onion and bay leaves over the base of a small roasting tin. Sit the chicken on top, breast-side up, and roast on the middle shelf for 1 hr 30 mins, basting with the buttery juices after about 40 mins. When the chicken is dark golden, crispy-skinned and the juices run clear, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 mins. Use a pair of tongs to pull the lemons, garlic and thyme out of the cavity and into the tin. Lift the chicken up, letting any juices dribble into the tin, and transfer the chicken to a serving platter to rest for at least another 15 mins.
- To make the gravy, squeeze the juice out of the cooked lemon halves and discard the skins. Place the tin on a low heat, stir in flour and sizzle until light brown. Gradually pour in the stock and cook for a few mins. If you like a darker gravy, add a splash of soy sauce to the tin. Strain the gravy into a jug and serve with the chicken.