Tackling the family turkey dinner, and all the trimmings, doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Remove the stress with this simple recipe for festive success
Ready in approx 4.5 hours, plus resting time
1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, trimmed and chopped
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
75g ready to eat dried apricots, finely chopped
150g fresh white breadcrumbs
100g cooked chestnuts, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
5.4kg oven-ready turkey, giblets removed
16 cocktail sausages
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
Fresh herbs, to garnish
Heat half the butter and the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the leek and shallots for 6-7 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and stir in the apricots, breadcrumbs, chestnuts and half the thyme leaves. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5. Line a large roasting tin with buttered foil. Use about one third of the stuffing mix to stuff the neck end of the turkey (press the rest of the stuffing in a shallow ovenproof dish to cook separately). Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time – allow 20 minutes per 450g plus 20 minutes. Place the turkey in the lined roasting tin and smear all over the skin with the remaining butter. Sprinkle over the rest of the thyme leaves and season.
Cover the turkey with a tent of buttered foil and roast in the preheated oven for the calculated cooking time, basting occasionally. Uncover the turkey for the last 45 minutes until the skin is golden and the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of one thigh. If the juices still run slightly pink return the turkey to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes then check again.
Leave the turkey, loosely covered with foil, in a warm place to rest for at least 20 minutes. Stretch the bacon rashers with the back of a knife and cut each rasher in half. Wrap the short rashers around the cocktail sausages, securing with a cocktail stick. Place in baking tray and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through. Drizzle a couple of spoonfuls of juices from the turkey over the stuffing in the dish and cook in the oven at the same time as the bacon-wrapped sausages for 20 minutes.
Serve the turkey on a large warmed platter with the bacon-wrapped sausages and garnished with fresh herbs. Serve the extra stuffing separately along with all the usual festive trimmings.
Don’t forget the gravy: Simmer the roast turkey juices with a splash of red wine and a couple of spoonfuls of redcurrant jelly.