The Perfect Turkey Lunch
Give it a go! It may seem scary and elaborate at first, but the trick is in the preparation...
Make sure to check out the handy time plan below too, so you can make sure to nail it on the big day.
For the turkey
- Remove the turkey from the fridge at least 2 hours before you are going to cook the bird, so it will cook instantly instead of warming up for the first 30 minutes, it will cook much more evenly as the whole bird will be the same temperature.
- Remove the wishbone and stuff the neck end with the stuffing folding the flap of skin over the hole.
- Truss the turkey with string, making sure the flap of skin is well tied up, any extra stuffing make into stuffing balls.
- Allow 25-30 minutes per kilo, the first 30 minutes cook the turkey on 200c then turn the down to 170c.
For the stuffing
- Place a pan onto a medium heat then add the butter, once it has just melted add the onions, garlic, thyme and 2g salt. Cook this on a low heat until it starts to soften, after approximately 10-14 minutes so it starts to caramelise. Add the sage and take off that heat and leave to cool, then add the sausage meat and remaining ingredients.
- Use this to stuff the turkey neck end, then with any remaining stuffing roll them into approx 4cm size balls with floured hands and chill in the fridge.
For the chipolatas and bacon rolls
- Place the bacon and chipolatas onto an oiled tray ready to go under the grill or in the oven.
For the bread sauce
- Tie all the spices into a muslin bag and place into a pan with the milk, thyme and bay then bring to the simmer, leaving to infuse for twenty minutes.
- Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat adding the diced onion, chopped garlic, salt and 14 turns of milled black pepper and cook for 5-8 minutes till soft with no colour, stirring now and again.
- Add the bread to the cooked onions and slowly add the infused milk which has been passed through a fine sieve and bring up to a slow simmer, stirring regularly so it wont catch on the pan and burn.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes stirring every so often, then add the cream and more milk if necessary if it’s too thick.
- Remove the spice bag at the end and add a little butter.
For the cranberry sauce
- Place all the ingredients into a pan and bring this to a slow simmer, reduce this by 2/3rds, so it gets thick like a chutney, stir this every ten minutes or so on a low heat.
- It will start to bubbles a lot when it reduces, this can be made a week before so the flavour improves. Leave the spice bag in so the taste gets more intense, then remove before serving.
For the sprouts
- Place a pan of salted water onto boil then add the sprouts and bring to a simmer, cook for approximately 8 minutes.
- Whilst the sprouts are cooking place a frying pan onto a medium heat, add the oil and once hot then the butter, when it has melted and is golden brown add the bacon and cook for 4-5 minutes till golden brown, then add the chestnuts and cook for a further 3 minutes, season with plenty of pepper.
- Drain the sprouts once cooked and add to the bacon mix, toss for a couple of minutes and add some black pepper and salt to taste.
For the potatoes
- Cut the potatoes into large 2 inch pieces, place the tray into the oven before you cook the turkey at 200c for approximately ten minutes with the oil and fat, as you may not have the space to cook at the same time.
- Place the potatoes into a colander to wash off all the starch and give a good rinse, place into a pan and cover with clean cold water adding a spoonful of salt, bring to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes, then drain into a colander and shake the potatoes well to fluff up the edges.
- Once the oven is hot, take the tray out of the oven carefully and add the potatoes one by one.
- Do not shake the roasting tray at all, as the tray will cool down and the spuds will stick to the tray.
- Close the oven door and cook for approximately 1 hour till golden.
- For the first 15 minutes do not move them at all, this is so they crisp up and the cooking tray stays hot. After this sprinkle in the course sea salt and turn them over every 20 minutes so they are evenly coloured on every side.
For the buttered roast carrots
- Place a frying pan onto a medium heat, then add the oil and once hot add the butter.
- Once melted add the carrots, thyme, salt and roast these on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring now and again, then add the honey.
- Continue to cook for another 5 minutes until golden and soft. Then add the lemon juice and zest and cook for 2 minutes then add the tarragon at the end.
For the roast honey parsnips
- Place a frying pan onto a medium heat, add the oil and once hot add the butter.
- Once melted add the parsnips, thyme, and salt and roast these on a medium heat for 12-14 minutes then add the honey.
- Continue to cook for another 8 minutes until golden and soft.
For the Gravy
- Cut all the vegetables into 1 inch rough pieces.
- During the last 2 hours of cooking the turkey roast the giblets and vegetables in with the turkey, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Once the turkey is cooked remove it from the tray and then add the chicken stock to the tray. Place this onto a high heat or a gas flame and bring to a simmer, with a wooden spoon remove all the meat juices and sediments from the pan to improve the flavour.
- Mix 5g soft butter and 5g flour together then whisk this into the sauce and turn down to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add a little salt and pepper to taste then pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan pressing all the vegetables really well to extract maximum flavour.
PREPARATION ON CHRISTMAS EVE:
- The carrots, parsnips, onions, potatoes and sprouts can all be peeled, once the potatoes have been peeled, cut the potatoes into rough quarters and place them into a bowl, rinse in cold water to remove the starch and place into the fridge with the spuds submerged in water. The carrots can either be cut into 1/2 slices or rough style cut batons, if you are boiling the carrots then slice them, however if you are going to roast them cut into batons and place in a bowl in the fridge. You can cut the parsnips into thick batons (you may need to trim the middle flesh as it may be a little woody).
- The sprouts can be crossed on the bottom once they are peeled. This is so they cook evenly as the base is quite thick. Cut the 2 onions into 1inch dice and the same with the carrots for the gravy. Place into the same bowl and cling film well because of the onion smell.
- Remove the trussed turkey from the fridge and place into a roasting tray on a cooling wire. The reason we take the turkey from the fridge the night before or 3-4 hours before we cook it, is that it will slowly come up to room temperature. This will mean the meat will cook more evenly when it’s being roasted, as the temperature is the same through out the turkey. Therefore the meat will remain much more moist particularly the breasts. When you have a large piece of meat it will not cook evenly if the centre is still fridge cold and the outside is room temperature, first the meat has to heat up before it starts to cook, and that’s why you sometimes get a brown ring before the red centre in a large beef roasting joint.
CHRISTMAS DAY (for eating at 2.30pm)
- 10am pre-heat the oven to 200c Gas 6, and place the stuffing into the turkey (back end), fold the skin underneath and secure with a couple of cocktail sticks. Also make sure the wishbone has been removed, as this will really help with the ease of carving the turkey. Remove all the vegetables from the fridge.
- Place the chopped carrot and onion around the turkey along with the chopped neck and giblets, brush the turkey with oil and place a little oil in the tray as well. Smear some butter on to the skin and season with plenty of course sea salt and milled pepper and the vegetables too.
- 10.30am Place the turkey into the oven and cook at 200c for the first 30 minutes till golden. I allow for the turkey approximately 30 minutes cooking per Kilo. Drain the potatoes and place into a pan and cover with cold water. Place the sausages onto a greased tray along with the bacon, which you can roll up (you may wish to place some bacon on top of the turkey breast later on).
- 11.00am Keep an eye on the turkey and baste it if there is any juice in the pan, turn the oven down to 180c gas 4. If the turkey starts to get too much colour you can cover it in foil. Add 2-3 split garlic cloves and thyme to the tray of vegetables, giving them a stir.
- Put the potatoes onto the heat , add a little salt and bring to a rapid simmer and then drain into a colander, bash the potatoes around the colander so the edges of the potatoes fluff up and dry, then place on to a clean tea towel to dry even further.
- 11.30am Place a roasting tray into the oven to heat. At 12.00pm remove from the oven and add approximately 250ml vegetable oil or duck fat (be careful as it will be hot). Then add your potatoes and season with plenty of salt and pepper and put back into the oven. At this stage do not move the spuds around as they will cool the tray down too much and they could stick. Baste the turkey and move the vegetables around the tray.
- Keep an eye on the turkey, keep basting now and again and move the vegetables around the tray, once they are nice and golden add the gravy and another 200ml water, all the juices will be used for the sauce.
- 12.10pm you will need 2 small pans for the gravy and bread sauce and then 2 medium size for the carrots and sprouts. Have a kettle full of boiling water ready for the vegetables. Check the potatoes and now you can move them around the roasting tray, then do the parsnips (see recipe above).
- 1.15pm Take the turkey from the oven and remove from the roasting tray. Put on the cooling wire placing it into a clean tray and back into the oven. If you want to put bacon on the turkey do it now.
- Make the gravy by placing the roasting tray on to a low gas flame, bringing it to a simmer, then add a tbsp of cranberry sauce and taste for seasoning, you should have approximately 500ml liquid. Simmer for 10 minutes scraping all the sediment from the tray, if it needs a little thickening then dilute a little corn flour with some water and whisk a tsp of it into the gravy. Pass this through a fine sieve really pressing down well on the sieve into a clean pan to obtain maximum flavour from all the vegetables.
- 1.30pm-2.00pm The potatoes should almost be ready so if they are remove from the oven, the turkey should also be ready in this time. Test the turkey by inserting a roasting fork into the leg once removed, there should be no blood but clear juice, or temperature probe into the leg and if it is more than 80c it will be ready, cover with foil so it keeps hot and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. At 1.30pm cook the roast carrots (recipe above), once they are cooked then place them onto the tray with the parsnips. If you are making boiled carrots then you will cook these at 2.15pm see below. Put the sausages and bacon into the oven at 2pm, these will take approximately 30 minutes to cook.
- 2.10pm Place the boiling water from the kettle in to 2 pans add some salt and then add your sprouts, and follow the recipe above. Check the sausages and place the potatoes, parsnips and carrots back into the oven to reheat. Think about warming plates in the oven and serving dishes.
- 2.15pm Cook the carrots if you want them boiled, in simmering salted water for 10-12 minutes till tender, reheat the bread sauce.
- 2.25pm Check everything in the oven. Drain the vegetables; add a little butter and chopped parsley to the carrots and place into warmed dishes along with the potatoes, parsnips, gravy, bread sauce and cranberry sauce.
- 1 kilo Sausage Meat
- 25g Breadcrumbs
- 25g Butter
- 120g Finely Diced Onions
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 2 Cloves Garlic - Finely Chopped
- Sea salt
- Fresh Thyme, Parsley, Sage
Chipolatas and Bacon Rolls
- 20 rashers of streaky bacon rolled up
- 20 Little chipolatas
- 1litre Milk
- 60g Diced Onion
- 50g Butter
- 150ml Double Cream
- 250g Diced White Bread
- 2gloves Chopped Garlic
- 0.5g Cloves
- 0.5g Black Peppercorns
- 2 Bay Leafs
- Fresh Thyme
- 40g Orange Fine Zest
- 400ml Orange Juice from 6 Oranges
- 1 kilo Cranberries
- 0.5g Ground Ginger
- 0.5g Mixed Spice
- 0.5g Cinnamon Powder
- 2g Star Anise
- 2g Cinnamon Stick
- 0.5g Cloves
- 0.5g Black Peppercorns
- 1g All Spice Berries
- 6g Whole Peeled Ginger
- 400g Granulated Sugar
Vegetables for the Turkey
- 1 Kilo Brussel Sprouts (peeled and trimmed with a cross on the bottom to help cook more evenly)
- 250g Whole Peeled Chestnuts
- 25g Butter
- 50ml Vegetable Oil
- 150g Smoked Streaky Bacon Lardons
- 3kg Peeled Desiree, King Edwards or Maris Piper Potatoes
- 100ml Vegetable Oil
- 100g Duck Fat
- 1⁄2 tbsp. Course sea salt
Buttered Roast Carrots
- 1kg Peeled Organic Carrots - cut in to 2-3 inch length batons
- 50g Butter
- 100ml Vegetable Oil
- 12g Sprigs Thyme
- ￼2g Chopped Tarragon
- 2g Course Sea Salt Honey
- 1tbsp Honey
- Juice and Fine Zest of 1 Lemon
Roast Honey Parsnips
- 2kg Parsnips (peeled and trimmed, cut into 2-3 inch batons with the tough core removed)
- 250ml Vegetable Oil
- 25g Butter
- 12g Thyme prigs
- 40g Honey
- 2g Course sea salt
- 3 Carrots
- 2 Onions
- 2 Sticks Celery
- 12g Thyme Sprigs
- 1l White Chicken Stock
- ￼4 peeled Garlic Cloves
- All the turkey giblets and Neck (chopped roughly)