Inspiring vegetarian recipes
Try our vibrant veggie dishes, from meat-free lasagne to vegetable curry and vegetarian chilli
The night before, mix the butter with half the salt and pepper. Remove the giblets (if there are any) and wipe the bird clean, inside and out, with kitchen paper. Remove any feathers and stubs (tweezers can be useful for this) – if there are a lot, you can singe them off over a flame. open the cavity of the bird and season the inside with the remaining salt and pepper. Rub the seasoned butter all over the turkey. Take a piece of greaseproof paper twice the size of the breast and fold to make it a double thickness. Lay this over the breast. return to the fridge and leave until the morning.
On christmas day, remove the turkey from the fridge an hour before putting it in the oven to allow it to come to room temperature. Heat the oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7. Calculate your cooking times – allow 20 minutes at high heat, then 30 minutes per kilo after you have reduced the heat. So a 4.5 kg turkey will take about 2½ hours in total. Cut the onions in half and put in the baking tray. Put the seasoned turkey on a rack (i use a cake-cooling rack) and then put the rack into the tray. boil a kettle and carefully pour 1 cup of boiling water into the cavity of the bird. Seal with a short, sharp skewer.
Pour another 2 cups of boiling water into the tray with the onions, cover the whole thing with foil (i use 2 layers). Make sure that it is well-sealed around the edges. Put the tray in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6 for the remaining cooking time.
After 1½ hours, remove the foil and the greaseproof paper and close the door. Don’t open it again until the cooking time is up. To test whether the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer or knife blade into the point where the thigh joins the breast, and the juice should run clear. If it is pink, then leave it for another 20 minutes and test again.
Take the bird from the oven, remove the onions, then strain the juice in the bottom of the tray into a large jug to settle. The fat will rise to the top, leaving the aromatic turkey and onion juice beneath. Skim off the fat and thicken the juice with flour if you wish or serve as it is. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes and serve..