Traditional roast turkey
Published 20/12/2008 | 00:00
1 medium-sized onion
3 cloves garlic, diced
225g/8oz sausage meat
3oz/75g fresh cranberries
Zest and juice of one orange
4 tbsps chopped herbs (eg, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary)
3 large potatoes, peeled, mashed and cooled
450g/1lb fresh white
Salt and pepper
7-8 rashers streaky bacon
1 Pre-heat the oven to 200C/ 400F/gas mark 6. Melt the butter over a very gentle heat. Finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the butter. Cook until lightly softened, but not coloured. Add the cranberries during this stage and allow them to sweat off very gently.
2Take the mixture off the heat, allow to cool slightly then add the sausage meat, freshly chopped herbs, orange juice and zest, mashed potatoes and the breadcrumbs. The mixture should not be too dry.
3Season the stuffing and allow to cool completely before adding it to the bird. It can be made a couple of days in advance, if you wish, and even frozen.
4Stuff the turkey on Christmas morning. Line the cavity with tin foil and loosely pack the stuffing into the bird. To get the correct time, it is vitally important to weigh the turkey again with the stuffing enclosed.
5 Put the turkey on a large roasting tray and lay the rashers of bacon across the breast to protect the meat and prevent it from drying out. These can be taken off at a later stage if you wish to colour up the breasts and get a nice crunchy skin.
6Put the turkey into the oven and begin to bake. After the first 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. If you feel the turkey is browning too quickly, you can cover it with some tin foil for the first two hours.
7Allocate 20 minutes per pound, then an additional 20-30 minutes in the oven. In total, it should take about four and a half hours. When a skewer is inserted into the meat nearest the bone (ie, the leg), the juices should run completely clear.
8Allow the meat to rest when it comes out of the oven and carve as required. For more advice on cooking your turkey see my tips box (right).