The key to the perfect roast turkey is to cook it hard and fast and rest it for a good hour covered in foil and to cover it in back to keep the meat moist. Turkeys don’t need as long to cook as people think. A higher-welfare bird will take less time to cook - about 30 minutes per kilo. A standard bird will take about 40 minutes per kilo. As a guide a 3.6kg-5.4kg turkey will take 2 hours, a 5.4kg-7.25kg bird will take 2.5-3 hours. Plus resting time.
1 free range turkey
3 onions - 1 quartered, two cut into 3 disks
1 carrot roughly chopped
1 clementine halved.
3 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, wholes and lightly bashed
500g unsmoked streaky bacon
30-50g butter room temperature
Take your turkey out of the fridge 1-2 hrs before you cook it. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan. *Starting from the neck, carefully push your fingers underneath the skin until you can get your whole hand between the skin and the breast meat - careful not to tear the skin as you go. Push the butter into the pocket made between the skin and breast meat. *Put the clementine, onion quarters and bay inside the turkey & season the bird all over. Drizzle with olive oil. Stuff the neck of the bird with the stuffing if you’re not cooking it separately. *Put the onion disks, garlic & carrots in a roasting tin and sit the turkey on top. Lattice the streaky bacon over the top of the turkey, cover with foil and cook for the calculated required time less 30 minutes. *Remove the foil & put the bird back into the oven until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon if you want to crisp the skin of the turkey. Set the bacon aside, and cook the turkey for a further 20mins. Rest the turkey for a min of 1 hour covered in foil & two tea towels. The juices should run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh, or a thermometer should read 75C.
*To make your gravy spoon away the fat from the pan, strain the juices into a pan and stir in a tablespoon of flour. Simmer and stir out any flour before adding 100ml red wine. Cook off the alcohol for a few mins before adding 1l fresh stock.