Roast Turkey

04 Dec

This recipe and the following 3 are some dishes which I cooked for our cell group’s Christmas party.

From the beginning of this year, I’d told myself that I am going to attempt  roast turkey come Christmas season and YES, I did it today!!! I’ve heard so much about how hard roasting a good turkey can be so I was a bit scared yet, I so wanted to try. Moreover, I was sure Jamie Oliver’s recipe would produce a happening turkey 🙂

Since it’s our cell group’s Christmas party, it would be the best time to roast a turkey 🙂 On Wed night, I bought a frozen turkey from the supermarket. The recipe said to buy a 10lbs turkey but the smallest I could get was 13lbs. Ok! Back home, I started reading on how to thaw the turkey and how long it’d take. There was slight panic cos it says I need about 3-4 days to thaw it in the fridge. I had less than that! I decided not to bother so I just stuck it in the fridge. The next evening, the turkey was still very solid, so I panicked more and started worrying if it’d be successful. haha! My friend suggested that I take it out and leave it at room temperature overnight, so I did. Thank God the next day, the turkey was so much softer so I put it back in the fridge.

This morning, it took me just about 2 hrs to cook the stuffing before I put the turkey to roast. The roasting took about 5 hours and another hour for resting. Wow, turkey is a time-consuming affair. Thank God it turned out very well. The turkey was juicy, yummy and tasty. Just a bit burnt on the top – I think I removed the foil too early. I wasn’t sure how long I had to roast the turkey. Glad that I bought a thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey. To know whether your turkey is ready, put the thermometer into the thigh and check that is has reached 70C. A tip my friend told me.

Guess the next time I roast a turkey will be much easier. To help you with the recipe, I took some photos as I go along. Hope this helps you to roast a good one:) Enjoy! Thanks Jamie Oliver for another superb recipe!

Ingredients (ammended based on the amount I used)

Click here for original recipe from Jamie Oliver.

65g/2oz butter
a sprig of fresh sage, leaves picked
16 strips of pancetta or thinly sliced streaky bacon
1 bulb of garlic, broken into cloves
3 medium red onions, peeled
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
a big handful of breadcrumbs
a handful of dried apricots
400g minced pork
zest of 1 lemon
a pinch of grated nutmeg
1 large free-range or organic egg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 small fresh rosemary sprigs, plus a few extra
13lbs turkey, preferably free-range or organic, at room temperature
2 carrots, peeled
1 large orange
olive oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
1litre chicken or vegetable stock


1. Preheat the oven to maximum (My oven max is 220C).
2. Heat a saucepan until medium hot and drop in the butter, sage leaves and 6 of the pancetta or bacon strips. Peel and chop 2 garlic cloves and 1 onion. Add the garlic, celery and onion to the saucepan and fry everything gently until soft and golden brown.

3. Take the pan off the heat, add the breadcrumbs and, while the mix is cooling down, chop the apricots roughly and stir them in. When the stuffing has cooled down, add the pork, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg and lots of salt and pepper, and mix everything together well.

4. Slice the remaining strips of pancetta or bacon in half and slice 1 peeled garlic clove into thin slivers. Place a rosemary sprig and a garlic sliver on one end of a halved strip of pancetta and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the other pieces of pancetta until you have 12 little rolls.

5. Stab the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in 6 places on each side. Push a little pancetta roll into each hole until it just peeps out. This’ll give your turkey thighs a fantastic flavour and will keep them moist while they cook.

6. Chop the remaining onions in half and slice the carrots thickly.
7. Give your turkey a good wipe, inside and out, with kitchen paper, and place it on a board, with the neck end towards you.
8. Find the edge of the skin that’s covering the turkey’s breasts and gently peel it back. Work your fingers and then your hand under the skin, freeing it from the meat. If you’re careful you should be able to pull all the skin away from the meat, keeping it attached at the sides. Go slowly and try not to make any holes! (I made 1 hole 😛 Do you see my hand inside the turkey? This feels weird. )

9. Lift the loose skin at the neck end and spoon the stuffing between the skin and the breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop anything leaking out. (This is how it looks after you put in all the stuffing)

10. Pop the orange in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up and stuff it into the cavity. Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time (about 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz). (I didn’t weigh as the turkey was too heavy for my weighing scale so I estimated and then used the thermometer to check the temperature).
11. Place the bird on a large roasting tray, rub it all over with olive oil and season well.
12. Surround with the chopped carrots, onions, remaining garlic, cover with tinfoil and place in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down right away to 180°C/350°F/gas 4, and roast for the calculated time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce with it a knife or a skewer.
13. Remove the tinfoil for the last 45 minutes to brown the bird. (This is important! Do not remove to early or else the skin will be burnt).
14. Carefully lift the turkey out of the tray and rest on a board that’s covered loosely with foil for 20 minutes while you finish off the veg and gravy.
15. Skim the surface fat from the roasting tray and add the flour and stock. Place the tray on the hob and bring to the boil on a high heat. When the gravy starts to thicken, strain it into a bowl. Carve your turkey, serve with the gravy and dig in!

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Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Uncategorized


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