Step by Step Guide to a Perfect Christmas Turkey

For many families uniting around the Christmas dinner table is one of the few times in a year that they will get the chance to all sit down and catch up. This therefore makes the traditional festive dinner one of the most important of the year.

Served with sprouts, honey glazed parsnips, roast potatoes with goose fat and cocktail sausages wrapped in streaky bacon, the tender turkey meat will just fall away from the bone as it is carved.

An ideal accompaniment to the meal is also a homemade leek and chestnut stuffing. This is a light and tasty stuffing that is easy-to-make in approximately 20 minutes.

Festive Leek and Chestnut Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • One onion
  • A leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • Butter
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Chopped chestnuts
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Chopped parsley

Method:

  1. Finely chop one onion, a leek and two garlic cloves.
  2. Slowly pan fry four rashers of streaky bacon in a small amount of butter and add the leek mixture to the pan for a couple of minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and add a generous handful of breadcrumbs, chopped chestnuts, lemon and parsley.
  4. Mix together and leave in the fridge until required.

Perfect Christmas Turkey

Ingredients:

  • A free range turkey
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 100g of melted butter
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • Ground black pepper

For the cavity:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 fresh lemons
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns

Method:

  1. Wash the turkey inside and out with cool water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Make sure any giblets are removed along with the neck, which can be used to make turkey stock for gravy.
  2. To stuff the turkey, lift the flap of skin at the neck near to the wishbone. Place any stuffing under the skin, making sure it is firmly packed. Hold the flap down with cocktail sticks.
  3. For additional taste fill the parson’s nose end with onion, fresh lemon, celery, garlic and whole peppercorns. Finish by tying the legs with string.
  4. To give the skin an extra colour and crispiness, mix the dried herbs with the melted butter and brush thoroughly all over the turkey.
  5. Season the turkey with a topping of pepper and wrap the legs with smoked streaky bacon.
  6. Cook the turkey raised off the tray as this will allow the juices to run free for the gravy.
  7. Cover the turkey in tin foil for the first two hours or cooking and then remove the foil for the final stages of cooking. Baste some of the juices over the bird frequently throughout the cooking process.

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