It wouldn’t be Christmas without a traditional roast turkey. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s too difficult. Get your guests’ mouths watering by piling the table high with a magnificent roast – always a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
5kg whole oven-ready turkey
50g butter, softened
1 lemon, zest finely grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch rosemary
1kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
100g goose fat
800g small parsnips, peeled and halved lengthways
24 cocktail sausages, wrapped in streaky bacon
400g brussels sprouts
Ground black pepper
1. Remove the turkey from the fridge 1 hour before cooking.
2. Put the potatoes and parsnips in two large saucepans, each with 1 tsp salt. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then cook for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and parsnips in separate colanders and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 230°C (210° fan). Mix the butter with the lemon zest and crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper. Smear the butter all over the outside of the turkey with your fingers. Put the turkey in a large roasting tin and tuck a few of the rosemary sprigs into the body cavity.
4. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then baste well with the cooking juices and add 250ml of water to the roasting tin.
5. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (150° fan) and roast the turkey for 1 hour 15 minutes, basting every 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the temperature reads 74⁰C and the juices run clear, it is ready. If not, return to the oven and test again in 20 minutes.
6. When the turkey is cooked, transfer it to a carving board and cover with a double layer of foil and a dry tea towel. Leave to rest while you cook the vegetables.
7. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C (200° fan). Divide the goose fat between two large roasting tins and put them in the oven while it heats.
8. Carefully tip the drained potatoes into one of the tins and turn to coat in the hot fat. Season with salt and pepper and roast on the top shelf of the oven for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. When the potatoes have had their first 15 minutes, add the parsnips to the second tray of goose fat and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the parsnips, then add the bacon-wrapped sausages and roast for another 15 minutes.
9. When the potatoes and parsnips are nearly ready, steam the carrots and sprouts for 8 minutes or until just tender to the point of a knife.10. Surround the turkey with the roast potatoes and bacon-wrapped sausages and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. Serve straight away with the parsnips, carrots, sprouts and cranberry sauce.