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Roast Turkey


It’s the star of the show on most family Christmas tables so its important to get it right. Here’s my recipe to get a perfect roast turkey on the table in time for Christmas.



Serves 6-8

20ml Olive oil
1 x 5kg good-quality free-range turkey
50g Salted butter, softened to room temperature
salt and pepper
10 Bay leaves
2 onion, cut into quarters
3 carrots
2 Clementines, cut in half
1 handful rosemary
1 tbsp cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
300ml Dry white wine
1-2 tsp ground arrowroot or cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp cold water


Here’s how

Remove the turkey from the fridge and bring to room temperature - this will take at least an hour. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220C.
Meanwhile, using a pastry brush or your hands, smear the butter all over the turkey, then do the same with the olive oil.

Season the turkey with plenty of salt and pepper, both inside the turkey and all over the outside.
Place the turkey into a large roasting tray, then roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and baste all over with the cooking juices.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160C.
Add the chopped onions, clementines, carrots, bay leaves and rosemary around the turkey in the bottom of the roasting tray.
Pour the wine into the roasting tray as well as the cloves and cinnamon, then return the turkey to the oven and continue to cook for a further 1 hour, basting the bird with the cooking juices every 20 minutes. (Do this quickly to prevent the heat escaping from the oven).
At the end of the cooking time, test that the turkey is cooked by using a thermometer probe. The temperature should be 75C for 2 minutes. If the turkey is not fully cooked, return it to the oven until the it reaches the correct temperature. Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer the bird to a large, deep-sided tray, reserving the roasting tray that the turkey was cooked in, along with the cooking juices only. Discard the other ingredients by pouring through a colander or large sieve. Set the turkey aside to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 11⁄2 hours.
When you’re almost ready to serve the meal, return the roasting tray with the juices to the stove top.
Bring the cooking juices to the boil over a medium heat, scraping up any burned bits from the bottom of the tray using a wooden spoon.
Collect the juices released by the turkey as it was resting and add them to the gravy.
Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed.
Reduce the heat until the gravy is simmering, then stir in the arrowroot or cornflour and cook until the gravy has thickened.
Strain the gravy through a sieve before serving .

For a wine why not try a full-bodied Chardonnay, such as those from Burgundy or California Pinot Noir, Mature Bordeaux, Rioja or Barolo


Recipe by Peter Sidwell

Christmas Roast

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