Classic Roast Turkey

3:10 pm on 10 December 2010

The thought of roasting such a large bird can be off-putting especially for novice cookes, but fear not.  This step-by-step basic recipe will show you how to easily achieve a classic festive roast.

Preparation time 45 minutes
Cooking time 4 ½ hours
Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4-5 rashers rindless bacon, diced
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped or torn fresh bread
  • 5-6 sundried tomatoes in oil, well drained and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
  • 4 kilogram turkey, defrosted
  • 50 grams chilled butter, finely chopped or grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Place the oven rack in the lower section of the oven but not the bottom rung unless the oven is very small.  Place a cake rack into a large metal roasting dish.

Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and bacon for 5 minutes or until softened.

Remove from the heat, toss through the breadcrumbs, sundried tomatoes, mixed herbs and grated butter.  Season well with salt and ground pepper, cover and set aside until cool.

Wash the turkey and pat the inside cavity dry using paper towels.

Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing.  Tie the turkey legs together and twist the wings under the body.  This will ensure the turkey keeps a good shape during cooking and prevent the wing tips from over cooking.

Weigh the turkey to be able to calculate the cooking time later.

Spread a little extra butter on top of the turkey and season with salt and ground black pepper.

Place the turkey on the prepared rack and pour 1 cup of water into the dish below.

Roast in the preheated oven allowing 30 minutes per 500 grams.  A 4kg turkey with 400 grams stuffing, (as our recipe is) will take 4½ hours cooking time.  Cover with foil if the turkey begins to brown too much.

Remove from the oven, cover and rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Drain the cooking juices from the roasting pan.  Skim off the fat and return 3 tablespoons fat to the roasting pan (or use butter) and place directly over a low heat.  Add 2 tablespoons flour to the pan and stir for 1-2 minutes until frothy.  Make the cooking juices up to 1½ cups with chicken stock and gradually stir into the pan.  Bring to the boil then lover the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Stirring all the sediment from the bottom of the pan into the gravy, this is called deglazing the pan.  Season with salt and pepper if wished.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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