Traditional roast turkey

This will take around four hours to cook – allow 45 minutes per 1kg, plus 20 minutes

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 1 x 6-7kg/13-15lb turkey, with giblets
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chestnut stuffing (see chestnut stuffing recipe)
  • 125g/41/2oz salted butter

If possible, make the stock for the gravy the day before. Place the giblets, minus the liver and with the neck chopped in half, in a pan. Add the onion, thyme and bay leaf, cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any foam.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours, or longer to strengthen the flavour, then strain.

The next day, wipe out the neck area and cavity of the turkey with a damp cloth and lightly season the inside with salt and pepper. Spoon the chestnut stuffing into the body cavity and the neck cavity, allowing plenty of room for it to expand (this is particularly important for the neck stuffing).

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.

Melt half the butter in a pan.

Spread the remaining butter over the turkey. Soak squares of muslin in the melted butter and drape over the bird, with a double layer over the drumsticks. Alternatively, brush the melted butter over greaseproof paper or foil then arrange over the turkey and drumsticks.

Place the bird in a large roasting tin in the middle of the oven and cook for the appropriate time according to weight. About 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, turn up the heat to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6 and remove the coverings to crisp the skin.

Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest in a warm place while you cook the accompaniments.

To make the gravy, tip out any juices from the cavity (use oven gloves to do this) and add to the stock, then transfer the turkey to a serving platter. Pour off the juices from the tin, ideally into a gravy separator or a jug, where you can lift off the fat, then reheat with the stock. Pour into a gravy boat.

Serve with crunchy roast potatoes, bacon rolls, chipolatas and other trimmings.

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