Inspiring vegetarian recipes
Try our vibrant veggie dishes, from meat-free lasagne to vegetable curry and vegetarian chilli
The night before cooking, remove the turkey from the fridge (this is a good time to check that it’s thoroughly defrosted). Starting from the neck end of the turkey, use your hand to gently prise the skin away from the meat, working your way all the way down the breasts so you have a large pocket. Season the butter, then push ¾ of it into the pocket and spread so the butter is evenly covering the breasts. Spread the remaining butter over the outside of the legs and breasts.
Mix the sea salt with the black pepper, then sprinkle evenly all over the turkey, both inside and out. Put back in the fridge, uncovered, and leave overnight.
Remove the turkey from the fridge at least an hour before cooking. Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. To calculate the cooking time, allow 30 minutes per kilo plus 30 minutes extra – so a 5kg turkey will take three hours in total.
Put the sliced onions into the bottom of a roasting tin, put a rack over them, followed by the turkey. Pour 300ml of boiling water into the base of the tin and cover the whole thing with a double layer of foil. Make sure that it’s well sealed around the edges. Put the tray in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 for the remaining cooking time.
After 1½ hours, remove the foil and cook uncovered for the remaining time until really crisp. To test whether the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer or knife blade into the point where the thigh joins the breast — the juice should run clear. If it is pink, cook it for another 20 minutes and test again. Alternatively, insert a digital thermometer into the thickest point – it’s cooked when it reads 70C.
Remove from the oven, move the bird and onions onto a serving platter and cover with foil to rest for 45 minutes. Strain the juices at the bottom of the tin into a large jug to settle, then make our ultimate turkey gravy to serve alongside.