Perfect Christmas Turkey

Perfect Christmas Turkey
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Christmas Turkey


  • 1 sprig fresh sage , leaves picked 
  • 12 strips higher-welfare pancetta or thinly sliced streaky bacon 
  • 1 bulb garlic , broken into cloves 
  • 4 medium red onions , peeled 
  • 2 sticks celery , trimmed and chopped 
  • 1 big handful breadcrumbs 
  • 1 handful dried apricots 
  • 300 g higher-welfare minced pork 
  • 1 lemon , zest of 
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg 
  • 1 large free-range egg 
  • sea salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • 12 small sprigs of fresh rosemary , plus a few extra 
  • 4-4.5 kg higher-welfare turkey , at room temperature 
  • 2 carrots , peeled 
  • 1 large orange 
  • olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour 
  • 1.1 litres organic chicken or vegetable stock


  1. Take your turkey out of the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to cook it so it comes up to room temperature before roasting. Drizzle the meat with a good lug of olive oil, add a few good sprinkles of salt and pepper and then rub this seasoning all over the bird, making sure you get in to all the nooks and crannies.
  2. Preheat your oven to full heat then get started on your stuffing. Pour a lug or two of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat and fry off your chopped onion for about 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper, the ground nutmeg and your chopped sage leaves, then continue to fry and stir for another minute or two. 
  3. Spoon the onion mixture into a large bowl and let it cool completely. Once cooled, add your pork mince and breadcrumbs and use your hands to really scrunch everything together. Once it’s mixed really well, bring the stuffing together into a ball, then cover and chill until you’re ready to stuff your turkey.
  4. Pull the skin at the neck-end back so you can see a cavity and push about half of your stuffing inside your turkey. Not too much: you don’t want to pack it so tightly it slows down the cooking. Once done, pull and fold the skin over the opening and tuck it under the bird so it looks nice. 
  5. Turn the turkey around and drop a few small pieces of stuffing into the larger cavity along with your clementine halves and a few sprigs of rosemary. Place your roughly chopped veg in the bottom of a roasting pan and lay your turkey on top. Cover the turkey with tin foil then put it in the hot oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180°C/350°F/gas.
  6. Check on your turkey every 20 minutes or so and keep it from drying out by basting it with the lovely juices from the bottom of the pan. After 2½ hours, remove the foil so the skin gets golden and crispy.
  7. When the time is up, take your turkey out of the oven and stick a small sharp knife into the fattest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear and the meat pulls apart easily, it’s ready. If not, pop the turkey back in the oven to cook for a bit longer then check again. When you're confident it's cooked, rest the turkey for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours for bigger birds. Meanwhile you can get your veg and gravy ready.
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