So today is the grand Christmas finale. To prepare your turkey, first remove the giblets, which will make a stock to flavour the gravy. Place them in a saucepan with a chopped carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, herbs and black peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for an hour, to add flavour to your gravy.
Next, wash out the turkey and dry with a paper towel. Cooking the stuffing inside a turkey is tastier but you need to make sure the stuffing is cool, so only stuff half the cavity before tying the legs together with twine. If you decide to cook the stuffing separately, use juices from the cooked turkey to keep it moist. Place a wire rack in the roasting tray for the turkey to sit on. This will allow the juices and fats of the bird to drain off and you can use these juices to baste the bird. Tuck potatoes around your turkey so they soak up all the juices.
Before roasting I wrap my turkey with smoked streaky bacon or pancetta. Clementines and garlic cloves sliced in half, and generous sprigs of herbs tucked around the bird and in the cavity also add flavour.
Wishing you all a delicious, happy Christmas. See you in the new year.
Clodagh McKenna’s last word on the bird
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: varies depending on size
1 free-range or organic turkey, 4-4.5kg
12 slices streaky bacon (or 200g pancetta)
4 bunches thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 shallots, peeled and halved
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3in pieces
1 whole bulb of garlic, halved
4 small bunches sage
:: 8lb-12lb/3.5kg-5kg: 3 hours 20 minutes/4 hours 40 minutes
:: 12lb-14lb/5.5kg-6.5 kg: 4 hours 40 minutes/5 hours 20 minutes
:: 14lb-18lbs/6.5kg-8kg: 5 hours 20 minutes/6 hours 40 minutes
:: 18lb-20lb/8kg-9kg: 6 hours 40 minutes/ 7 hours 20 minutes
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