Roast turkey and stuffing
For the turkey and stock
- 4.5-5.5kg/10-12lb whole turkey, with giblets
- 1 onion, halved
- 1 carrot
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 175g/6oz butter
- flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing
- 85g/3oz butter
- 175g/6oz onions, finely chopped
- 225g/8oz fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2½ tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, chives, thyme or sage)
For the gravy
- 1.2 litres/2 pints stock (see above, or chicken stock)
- 1 tbsp softened butter
- 1-2 tbsp plain flour
For the stock, put the giblets, onion, carrot, celery and herbs in a saucepan and season. Cover with about 2 litres/3½ pints cold water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours, or until you have a flavoursome stock. Strain and set aside for making the gravy. (The stock can be made a day or two in advance; cover and store in the fridge, then skim any fat from the top.)
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. For the stuffing, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. When it is foaming, add the chopped onions and season. Cover with greaseproof paper and a lid, turn the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until completely softened. Set aside to cool.
Put the cooled onions in a mixing bowl. Mix in the breadcrumbs and mixed herbs and season to taste. Weigh the stuffing to assist with calculating the cooking time.
Season the turkey cavity at both ends. Stuff some of the stuffing into the main cavity, but be careful not to pack it in – there must be enough space between the stuffing and breastbone to fit the handle of a wooden spoon. Stuff the smaller cavity at the neck end, again leaving a little space. Put the turkey into a large roasting tray. Melt the 175g/6oz butter, then soak the muslin in the butter and wrap it over the turkey.
To calculate the cooking time, add the weight of the turkey and stuffing together. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and roast for 15 minutes per 450g/1lb of the total weight. Baste with the juices every 30 minutes; it is important to do this quickly so as to not let the turkey cool down, as this could alter the cooking time. Remove the muslin 15 minutes before the end of roasting and baste again.
To test if the turkey is cooked, insert a small fruit or vegetable knife into the thicktest part of the meat, between the leg and breast; the juices that run should be clear, with no sign of pink; if there is any pink, return the turkey to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Tranfer the turkey to a carving dish. Cover it with parchment paper, then place a clean tea-towel over it to keep it nice and snug. Leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1½ hours.
Meanwhile, for the gravy, skim off the fat from the roasting tray with a spoon. Place the tray on a medium heat and deglaze it by pouring in the stock. Using a whisk, scrape free all the caramelised bits on the bottom of the tray. Bring the mixture to the boil, then carefully pour it into a saucepan through a sieve and season.
To thicken the gravy, mix together the butter and flour, then whisk it into the gravy. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
Carve the turkey and serve on warm plates with the stuffing and hot gravy.