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Traditional Roast Turkey

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5.5 kg (12 lb) oven-ready turkey, thoroughly thawed if frozen
1 onion
2 carrots
2 bay leaves
1 quantity stuffing, see basic recipes
180 g (6 oz) butter
Salt and pepper
Bacon kebabs, see side dishes
Fresh herbs, to garnish


Serves: 8


1 Remove giblets from the turkey as soon as possible. Put in a pan with the onion, carrots, bay leaves and 600 ml (1 pint) water. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 1 hour. Strain, cool and reserve.

2 Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F/ Gas 5). Spoon some stuffing into neck end of the turkey. Form remaining stuffing into small balls. Tuck skin under bird and truss it with the wings folded under the body and the legs tied together. Soften butter and spread over the breast. Season with salt and pepper.

3 Line a large roasting tin with strong, wide foil. Place turkey in tin. Cover with foil, tucking under rim. Cook for 3¼ hours.

4 Uncover the turkey. If room, tuck the bacon kebabs and stuffing balls around the turkey. If not, cook in a separate dish. Cook for a further 30 minutes until brown.

5 Test to see if the turkey is cooked. Lift turkey from roasting tin, tipping slightly to allow juices to run out. Place on a large warmed serving dish and cover with foil. Leave to stand for up to 30 minutes while preparing gravy.

6 Garnish turkey with bacon kebabs, stuffing balls and herbs.

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