Serves 10- 12
Preparation 15 to 20 minutes per lb. for an oven ready bird
Cooking: 3 ½ hours based on bird size
4 ½ to 5 ½ kg / 10 to 12lb turkey
50g / 2 oz butter
1 onion sliced salt and pepper and a little flour
8 slices of streaky bacon
300ml turkey stock made from the turkey giblets
¾ tbsp cooking oil
1knob of butter
finely chopped grated rind of 3 lemons
juice of 1 to 1 ½ lemons
1 garlic clove chopped
1 heaped tsp chopped fresh sage
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
450g/1lb fresh fine white breadcrumbs salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
100g to 150g butter softened
MAKE THE STUFFING: Heat the oil and butter in a pan and add the chopped onion with the garlic. Soften over a medium heat, add the lemon rind and the herbs and cook over a medium heat for a further 6 to 8 minutes until the onions are tender . Melt the remainder of the butter . Allow to cool. Next mix in the juice of 1 lemon. Mix well and taste - it should be rich in flavour and have a bite from the lemon. If you would like it sharper add in the juice of the second lemon to taste. The stuffing should be soft enough to hold together.
TO STUFF THE TURKEY: Wash the turkey inside and out and dry well with the kitchen roll. Loosen the skin at the neck end with your fingers and stuff between the skin and the flesh, allowing space for expansion. Tuck the neck flap under the bird and secure with a cocktail stick. Put any remaining stuffing into parchment paper and cook alongside the bird for the last hour. Put a few knobs of butter into the body cavity along with an onion and sprig of thyme and sage. Do not stuff the body of the bird for health safety.
WEIGH the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time. Allow 20 mins per lb/450g for this bird size and 15 mins per lb./450g for turkeys weighing over 16 lb/ 8 kg.
SEASON THE TURKEY with salt pepper and dust with a little flour and lay the streaky bacon slices over the breast , overlapping. Melt the butter and pour over the bird and cover with greaseproof paper or tin foil loosely tucked in around the bird.
TO COOK: PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 450F 220C gas mark 7 . When the turkey is ready put into the oven and roast for ¾ hour before reducing the heat to 325F 170C gas mark 3. Remove the foil for the last half an hour . To test the turkey pierce the thickest part of the leg - the juices should run clear without any trace of blood.
WHEN COOKED transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, reserving the juices from the pan for gravy. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and allow to rest for half an hour in a warm place while making the gravy and finishing the ham if using.
TO MAKE THE GRAVY: Make the stock the day before simmer the giblets with a small onion, a bay leaf salt and pepper and enough water to cover well. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 hour and strain and cool. Keep overnight covered in the refrigerator. Pour off excess fat from the roasting tin and into the remaining fat and juices, stir 1 tablespoon of flour into the tin. Cook over the heat for 2 mins . Pour the stock into the tin and blend well stirring while the mix comes back to the boil. Strain and bring back to the boil. Correct for seasoning . Add a dash of red wine or a little balsamic vinegar if liked and bring back to the boil. Serve with the turkey.