½ a bunch of fresh woody herbs, such as bay, sage, rosemary
2 sticks of celery
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First tip – if you want to get ahead, do all this prep on Christmas Eve, ready for the big day. Either way, get your turkey out of the fridge 1 to 2 hours in advance, dependant on its size, so it can come up to room temperature.
Check the main cavity for the bag of giblets, and if they’re in there, remove them and tip into your roasting tray. The added flavour for your gravy later will be incredible – trust me.
Warm the butter in your hands then rub and massage it all over the bird, getting into all the nooks and crannies, then sprinkle from a height with sea salt and black pepper.
Halve the clementine and place in the main cavity with the fresh herbs – you don’t want to pack it full as you want to allow hot air to circulate.
Use a handful (200g) of Gennaro's pork & onion stuffing to fill the neck cavity, but don’t stuff it in too tightly, then pull the skin back over it and tuck it under the bird. You’ll get a good contrast between the soft, juicy stuffing here and the crispier stuff you can bake off in a dish.
Roughly chop the veg – there’s no need to peel them – and chuck into the tray with the giblets to make your trivet, then sit the turkey on top and cover the tray with tin foil.
Remember now to wash your hands, plus any kitchen kit the raw turkey has touched, before moving on.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
As a guide, you want to cook a higher-welfare bird for 25 to 30 minutes per kilo, and a standard bird for 35 to 40 minutes per kilo. If you’ve got a 6kg bird, like I had here, do it for 2 hours 42 minutes – this sounds very precise, but I find that 27 minutes per kilo for a higher-welfare bird is the sweet spot.
Remove the tin foil about 45 minutes before the end of cooking, to allow the turkey to get nice and golden.
To check it’s cooked, the simplest way is to stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done. If you’re worried, you could also use a meat thermometer. You want to reach an internal temperature of 65ºC for a top-quality bird, such as Paul Kelly’s turkeys, or 70ºC for a supermarket higher-welfare or standard bird.
Use heavy duty tongs to lift up your bird so all the juices run from the cavity into the tray, then transfer the turkey to a platter, cover it with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel, and leave to rest for up to 2 hours while you crack on with everything else.
See how to finish your gravy by checking out my Christmas day gravy recipe.
Choose from the two methods below, or watch the How to carve a turkey video on Food Tube:
Remove the wing, slice the skin beside the leg, then pull out and chop the legs off. You can either slice or pull this brown meat – it’s so tasty. Keep it warm while you move on to the breast meat. Use the full length of the knife in a nice smooth action to slice through the breast meat, transferring it to a platter as you go.
Remove the leg as above, then feel where the backbone is and cut with the length of your knife all the way down beside it until you hit the carcass. You can then lift the whole breast off the bone. Remove to a board and slice.