Christmas Turkey

Christmas Turkey

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the turkey:

  • 4-5kg turkey
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed
  • handful sprigs of thyme, or rosemary or sage if you prefer
  • 200g butter, softened
 

For the stuffing:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • handful fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 600g pork sausage meat
  • 1 egg
  • handful breadcrumbs, or enough to bind it together
 
For the bread sauce:
 
  • 1 whole onion, peeled
  • 4 cloves, studded into the onion
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 loaf of white bread, whizzed into fine breadcrumbs
  • 25g butter, softened
 
For the potatoes:
 
  • 1.8kg potatoes
  • Luv-a-Duck duck fat, to line roasting tray and cover potatoes
 
For the gravy:
 
  • Turkey juice, set aside after cooking the turkey
  • splash of white wine
 
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to its highest heat, around 250C.

  2. Stuff the turkey cavity with the oranges, lemons, garlic and thyme and tie the legs together with butcher's string so that it will hold its shape in the oven.

  3. Use your hands to smear softened butter all over the skin. Season generously with salt as this will help crisp the skin, and add a good sprinkling of pepper.

  4. Cook in the very hot oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp the skin then turn down to 170C for around 2.5 hours, or until the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and put on a rack to rest. Save the juices for the gravy.

  5. For the stuffing: Saute the onions and sage in the olive oil, cool slightly then mix into sausage meat. Add the egg, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and stir together thoroughly.

  6. Press the mixture into a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes in a medium oven. If you don't want to cook the stuffing until later you can put it in the fridge to firm up.

  7. For the bread sauce: Press the cloves into the onion and place in a saucepan. Add the bay leaves, a teaspoon of peppercorns and the thyme then the milk and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the sauce to remove any bits, add a small amount of the breadcrumbs and slowly add more as you cook for 15 minutes until you have a consistency like porridge. You may not need all the breadcrumbs. Finish stirring in the butter.

  8. For the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 220C then heat the roasting tray lined with duck fat in the oven.

  9. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes all the way through in salted water for 10 minutes or so then carefully lift out of the water and leave to cool.

  10. Put the potatoes in the roasting tray and coat the potatoes in the hot duck fat, add a sprinkling of salt and roast them in the oven until crispy for about 40-50 minutes. If you need to, you can leave them in the oven with the heat off once cooked.

  11. For the gravy: Put the turkey baking tray with the juices still in it on the cooktop, bring it to the boil and scrape all the dried juice from the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Add a splash of white wine and return to the boil then strain through a sieve into a serving jug.

  12. Place everything on the table at once, dig in and enjoy!