The best turkey in the world

Roast Turkey

Serves 10

  • 6.5-8 kg higher-welfare turkey

  • flavoured butter

  • 2-4 clementines

  • a few sprigs of fresh herbs

  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

  • stuffing

  • 2-3 carrots

  • 3 onions, peeled

  • 2 sticks celery

This year I'm using a flavoured butter to give a bit of extra love to my turkey, and this is a job you can do the day before. Get your turkey and use a spoon to work your way between the skin and the meat. Start at the side of the cavity just above the leg and work gently up towards the breastbone and towards the back so you create a large cavity. Pick up half of your butter and push it into the cavity you've created. Use your hands to push it through the skin right to the back so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Do the same on the other side then rub any leftover butter all over the outside of the bird to use it up. If you've got any herb stalks left over, put them in the cavity of the turkey for added flavour as it cooks. Cover the turkey in cling film and keep in the fridge until you need it.



Take your turkey out of the fridge a few hours before you are ready to put it in the oven so it has time to come up to room temperature. That flavoured butter will already be under the skin so you'll only need a few tweaks to finish it off. Halve the clementines and pop them in the cavity with a few more sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, bay and thyme. The fruit will steam and flavour the birds in a really lovely way. Take the fresh rosemary, pull off the leaves at the bottom then spear that through the loose skin around the cavity to hold it together and keep it from shrinking back as the turkey cooks.



Open up the neck cavity and pack as much stuffing as possible in there, then carefully pull the skin back over the cavity, tuck it under the bird and pop it in the roasting tray. If you've already made your gravy like I've done, you won't need a vegetable trivet, if not, do that now by roughly chopping the carrots, onions and celery sticks. Preheat your oven to full whack, get the turkey in the roasting tray and cover with foil. As soon as it goes in the oven, immediately turn the heat down to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.



As a rough guide, you want to cook the turkey for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilogram, so a 7kg turkey will want about 4 to 4½ hours in the oven. But there are so many variables such as the sort of oven you have and the quality of your bird. Check on your turkey every 30 minutes or so and keep it from drying out by basting it with the lovely juices from the bottom of the pan. After 3½ hours, remove the foil so the skin gets golden and crispy. If you are at all worried just stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. When the internal temperature has reached 65ºC for a good quality bird, and about 82ºC for a cheaper bird, it's ready to come out.



Carefully put a metal skewer in the cavity and use it to lift the bird and angle it over the roasting tray so all of the juices from the cavity run out. Move the turkey to a platter then cover it with a double layer of tinfoil and 2 tea towels to keep it warm while it rests for at least 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information

The best turkey in the world

A simple roast for Christmas with chestnut and sage stuffing and flavoured butter

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0 foodies cooked this
Packing your turkey with clementines and fresh herbs gives the meat a lovely, fragrant flavour
Serves 10
4h 55m (plus resting time)
Not too tricky
Print this recipe
Method

In my books, the perfect bird is 6.5kg– 8kg in weight because that's a good size to handle, feeds about 10 to 14 people and has better flavour than bigger birds. If you're buying from a small producer, like the lovely turkey I used from my mate Paul Kelly, you'll often find these birds come with their own cooking instructions. Really good-quality birds do cook in a shorter time so follow the instructions if it has them.

This year I'm using a flavoured butter to give a bit of extra love to my turkey, and this is a job you can do the day before. Get your turkey and use a spoon to work your way between the skin and the meat. Start at the side of the cavity just above the leg and work gently up towards the breastbone and towards the back so you create a large cavity. Pick up half of your butter and push it into the cavity you've created. Use your hands to push it through the skin right to the back so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Do the same on the other side then rub any leftover butter all over the outside of the bird to use it up. If you've got any herb stalks left over, put them in the cavity of the turkey for added flavour as it cooks. Cover the turkey in cling film and keep in the fridge until you need it.

Take your turkey out of the fridge a few hours before you are ready to put it in the oven so it has time to come up to room temperature. That flavoured butter will already be under the skin so you'll only need a few tweaks to finish it off. Halve the clementines and pop them in the cavity with a few more sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, bay and thyme. The fruit will steam and flavour the birds in a really lovely way. Take the fresh rosemary, pull off the leaves at the bottom then spear that through the loose skin around the cavity to hold it together and keep it from shrinking back as the turkey cooks.

Open up the neck cavity and pack as much stuffing as possible in there, then carefully pull the skin back over the cavity, tuck it under the bird and pop it in the roasting tray. If you've already made your gravy like I've done, you won't need a vegetable trivet, if not, do that now by roughly chopping the carrots, onions and celery sticks. Preheat your oven to full whack, get the turkey in the roasting tray and cover with foil. As soon as it goes in the oven, immediately turn the heat down to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

As a rough guide, you want to cook the turkey for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilogram, so a 7kg turkey will want about 4 to 4½ hours in the oven. But there are so many variables such as the sort of oven you have and the quality of your bird. Check on your turkey every 30 minutes or so and keep it from drying out by basting it with the lovely juices from the bottom of the pan. After 3½ hours, remove the foil so the skin gets golden and crispy. If you are at all worried just stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. When the internal temperature has reached 65ºC for a good quality bird, and about 82ºC for a cheaper bird, it's ready to come out.

Carefully put a metal skewer in the cavity and use it to lift the bird and angle it over the roasting tray so all of the juices from the cavity run out. Move the turkey to a platter then cover it with a double layer of tinfoil and 2 tea towels to keep it warm while it rests for at least 30 minutes.

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Nutritional Information Amount per serving:

Calories

Calories are just a unit of energy. If you eat more than you use you can gain weight, or lose it if you don't eat enough. How much you need depends on your weight, gender and how active you are, but it's around 2,000 a day.

Carbs

Carbs are a great source of energy and, excluding foods such as potatoes, are made from grains - like bread, pasta and cereal. We all need carbs, but try to make them all wholegrain by sticking to brown bread, rice and pasta - they are much more nutritious.

Sugar

We all deserve a treat sometimes, but try to limit your sugar intake. Most of your sugar should come from raw fruit and milk, because they give us lots of nutrients too. Always check food labels so you know how much sugar you're eating.

Fat

We all need to eat a small amount of fat because it protects our organs and helps us grow. But we need to be careful about how much fat we eat and what kinds of fat, because in higher levels it's associated with weight gain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Saturates

Saturated or "bad fats" are in beef, pork, chicken skin, butter, cream and cheese. Too much can be bad for our heart and cholesterol levels, but unsaturated or "good fats" in fish, nuts, avocados and some oils can help keep our hearts healthy if eaten in moderation.

Protein

Protein helps our muscles to grow and repair, as well as providing you with essential amino acids. When it comes to protein, try to eat leaner sources such as chicken and fish or non-meat sources such as eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and pulses.
  • Calories 1316
    66%
  • Carbs 2.3g
    1%
  • Sugar 1.7g 2%
  • Fat 50.6g 72%
  • Saturates 15.4g 77%
  • Protein 211.7g 470%
Of an adult's reference intake

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BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH

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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.

When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
http://www.msc.org/

Fish Online
http://www.fishonline.org

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  • 6.5-8 kg higher-welfare turkey

  • flavoured butter

  • 2-4 clementines

  • a few sprigs of fresh herbs

  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

  • stuffing

  • 2-3 carrots

  • 3 onions, peeled

  • 2 sticks celery