The key to getting the turkey just right is making sure it goes into a very hot oven to begin with, and after half an hour, lowering the temperature so it doesn't burn. This is what will eventually give you that perfectly cooked skin on the turkey, whilst keeping the meat tender.
It's worth investing in a cooking thermometer if you don't already have one because it's all about accuracy when you're making a turkey. Plus, over Christmas there are quite a few traditional recipes that require a meat thermometer so you know you'll make good use of it.
This recipe is really simple, you might think, but you don't want your turkey to be overpowered by loads of different flavours. You want to keep it simple so the delicious meat can speak for itself, plus you'll be dishing it up with all the trimmings which will individually be loaded with flavour. Simple is definitely best in this case!
How to make a Christmas Turkey
- 4kg (9lb) free-range, slow-reared turkey
- 1 large bunch thyme and rosemary
- 1 orange
- 75g (3oz) butter
Heat the oven to 220 C, 200 C fan, 425 F, gas 7. Stuff the herbs and the orange into the turkey’s cavity. Rub the butter all over the skin, and season well.
Place in a roasting tin, cover loosely with a tent of foil and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180C, 160C fan, 350F, gas 4, remove the foil and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer. As long as it’s over 72C, it’s fine. You can check it after 90 minutes, as it may be cooked by then.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 45 minutes.
Top Tip for making Christmas Turkey
Putting an orange in the turkey stops the air from heating up inside the bird and cooking the breasts too quickly. It also gives a great scented flavour