Roast turkey with lemon, parsley and garlic The Scottish-born celeb chef tells us how to make the perfect festive feast
SERVES 8–10 INGREDIENTS
• 1 free-range turkey, about 5-5.5kg
• sea salt and black pepper
• 2 onions, peeled and halved
• 1 lemon, halved
• 1 head of garlic, halved
• 6 bay leaves
• olive oil, to drizzle
• 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon Lemon, parsley and garlic butter:
• 375g butter
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter. Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Mix to combine.
2. Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
3. Loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs – from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
4. Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
5. Place the bird on a roasting tray, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter over the skin. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Take the tray out, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 180°C/gas 4 and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally. To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. Check your turkey about 30 mins before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 mins and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
6. Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson’s nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks for the gravy. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving. Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.