Traditional Roast Turkey
I use a meat thermometer when cooking turkey – it helps to judge when the turkey is done.
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:4 hours and 40 minutes + leave for 30 minutes to set
Level of Difficulty:Easy
- 1 x 5.4kg (14lb) oven-ready turkey
- about 100g (4oz) butter, softened
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 3 small sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 recipe Lemon and Thyme Pork Stuffing
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- Preheat the oven to 220oC/Fan 200oC/Gas 7.
- 1. Loosen the skin over the breast of the turkey by slipping your fingers between the flesh and skin at the neck end, leaving the skin attached at the cavity end. Spread softened butter over the top of the breast under the skin, holding the skin up. Slip in lemon slices and thyme, under the skin. This is a nice addition but if time is short forget this variation.
- 2. Stuff the neck end of the turkey up to the breast with the stuffing. Secure the loose skin with fine skewers or just tuck the skin underneath. Fill the body cavity with any lemon trimmings, herbs and large pieces of onion. Tie the legs with string to give a neat shape. Lightly butter the skin of the bird.
- 3. Calculate the cooking time, if you have chosen to cook a turkey of a different size to above – see chart. (No need to include the stuffing weight.) Arrange 2 large sheets of foil across a large roasting tin enough to go generously over the turkey breast. Place the turkey on top and if using a meat thermometer insert into the thickest part of the thigh. (When cooked it will register 75-80oC.) Fold the sheets of foil loosely over the turkey, leaving a large air gap between the turkey and the foil.
- 4. Cook the turkey in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160oC/Fan 140oC/Gas 3 and continue to roast for 3 1 (SF – half) hours, basting from time to time.
- 5. Increase oven heat to 220C/Fan 200/Gas 7. Take turkey out of the oven, turn back the foil and drain off any surplus juices from the tin into a jug or bowl. Leave fat to rise to the top in a cold place. When liquid is cold, take off fat with a spoon and save juices for the gravy. Baste the bird, return turkey to the hot oven to brown and crispen for about 30 minutes.
- 6. Take turkey out of the oven and check if cooked. If not using a thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a small sharp knife. If the juices are clear, then the turkey is done; if they are still tinged with pink, then roast for a little longer, if brown cover again with the foil. Cover the turkey and leave to stand for 30 minutes before carving.
- 7. Serve with bacon rolls, gravy, sausages, Bread Sauce, Scarlet Confit and Apricot and Chestnut Stuffing.
- Do not put a meat stuffing into the cavity of a bird as this is not safe. Put in only flavouring, vegetables and herbs.