Introduced to Europe by the Spaniards, the humble turkey has become a national treasure. No Christmas table in the land is complete without a huge roasted turkey and plenty of stuffing. Having cooked literally hundreds over the past thirty years, I think I have come up with the definitive way of successfully cooking America's national dish. Oh, by the way, you also get wonderful turkey gravy this way as a bonus.
- 5 kg (10-12 lb) bronze turkey, with giblets and the wish bone removed.
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- 1 large onion, peeled
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 leek
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 organic chicken stock cube, Kallo are perfect (I don't work for them in case you're worried)
- 750 ml dry white wine, roughly
- 300 ml cold water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 55 g melted butter
- 4 tsp cornflour
- 8 tsp cold water
- 4 tbsp chicken gravy granules
- Preheat the oven to 200C Gas 6.
- Next, remove the giblets from the bird, and if you are using a frozen bird, make sure that it is fully defrosted.
- Season the bird well inside and out well with salt and pepper and pack the stuffing into the body cavity (see recipe)
- Tie the legs and the Parsons's nose together with a piece of string and secure well to hold the stuffing inside the bird.
- Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place them in the bottom of a large baking tray.
- Place the turkey on top. The tray should be large enough, so the bird has at least 2 inches gap around.
- Pour in the white wine, cold water, add the chicken stock cube, and place the whole tray onto the stove.
- Bring to the boil and cover very carefully with two layers of foil, paying particular attention to sealing around the top edge of the tin.
- This part is really important. The steam cooks the turkey perfectly and quickly, so it's really important to get as much in as possible in and around the bird.
- Carefully place the covered bird into the preheated oven, and cook for about 1 hour 45 approximately.
- To check if the bird is cooked, remove it from the oven carefully as there will be a lot of stock, wine and turkey juices, so take it easy, lifting the tray out of the oven.
- Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches itself to the body of the bird. The juices should run clear.
- If not, then cover again with foil and cook for a further 20 minutes.
- When the bird is cooked, remove it from the oven turn the oven up to 230 C, Gas 8. Carefully lift the bird out of the tray using carving forks or tongs. Take care as the bird is very hot and heavy and place in a separate baking tray.
- Once the oven is to the right temperature, spoon or pour melted butter over the bird, then pop back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, so it browns nice and evenly.
- Once browned, remove from the oven, cover with foil or cling film and keep warm.
- Strain the juices into a saucepan, skim well, pop on the stove, bring to a boil, and simmer gently to reduce the stock until you have a well-flavoured stock. Skim off the fat with a large spoon or ladle.
- This really is down to common sense skim well and thicken with the cornflour and water mixture or a few chicken gravy granules.
- When you carve the bird, the flesh will be soft and juicy. Serve the gravy and stuffing separately.
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