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Jamie Oliver's Roast Turkey with Flavoured Butter Stuffing with Gravy


Jamie Oliver's Christmas Turkey

Serves 6 - 8


We have tried many different recipes and the family have voted this one as

the best and has now become an annual institution!   The flavoured butter ensures wonderful juices

and flavours making the meat really moist and adding to the vegetable trivet to ensure a

spectacular gravy!

The bird can have the butter stuffing inserted under the skin and the two main stuffings

put into either end of the bird the day before.



•    6.5-8kg turkey

•    pack of streaky bacon

•    Rosemary, bay or thyme sprigs

•    2-3 carrots

•    3 onions, peeled

•    2 celery sticks


For the butter

•    1 x 250g pack of butter

•    75g dried cranberries, really finely chopped

•    Few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

•    4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked

•    Few sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked

•    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

•    1 clementine



1.    The turkey can be prepared the day before.   Put your butter into a bowl and add the chopped cranberries. Chop your knife through the herb leaves until really finely chopped then add to the butter with a pinch of salt and pepper.    Put the clementine into the food processor to finely chop along with the cranberries.    Mix so the butter softens and everything is combined.     Divide the butter roughly in half.


2.    Get your turkey and use a spoon to work your way between the skin and the meat.     Start at the side of the cavity just above the leg and work gently up towards the breastbone and towards the back so you create a large cavity. Pick up half of your butter and push it into the cavity you've created. Use your hands to push it through the skin right to the back so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Do the same on the other side then rub any leftover butter all over the outside of the bird to use it up. If you've got any herb stalks left over, put them in with the chopped vegetables underneath the turkey for added flavour as it cooks.    


3.    Now cover the turkey generously with streaky bacon and then cover the turkey in cling film and keep in the fridge until you need it.


4.    Take your turkey out of the fridge a few hours before you are ready to put it in the oven so it has time to come up to room temperature. That flavoured butter will already be under the skin so you'll only need a few tweaks to finish it off.

Take a sprig of fresh rosemary, pull off the leaves at the bottom then spear that through the loose skin around the cavity to hold it together and keep it from shrinking back as the turkey cooks.


5.     Preheat your oven to 220ºC/400ºF/Gas 7.

6.     Create a vegetable trivet by roughly chopping 2 or 3 carrots, 3 peeled onions and 2 celery sticks and place this in the bottom of the roasting tray.

6.    Open up the neck cavity and pack as much stuffing as possible in there, then carefully pull the skin back over the cavity, tuck it under the bird and pop it in the roasting tray on top of the vegetables.

As soon as it goes in the oven, immediately turn the heat down to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

5.    As a rough guide, you want to cook the turkey for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilogram, so a 7kg turkey will want about 4 to 4½ hours in the oven. But there are so many variables such as the sort of oven you have and the quality of your bird.     Check on your turkey every 30 minutes or so and keep it from drying out by basting it with the lovely juices from the bottom of the pan. After 3½ hours, remove the foil so the skin gets golden and crispy. If you are at all worried just stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. When the internal temperature has reached 65ºC for a good quality bird, and about 82ºC for a cheaper bird, it's ready to come out.

We usually cook a bird that weighs around 12 lbs or 6 kilos and this has cooked within 2 - 2½ hours - every oven varies and all birds usually come with their own cooking instructions.   The main thing to remember is that the bird must always be wrapped in foil to stop it drying out and not to let it roast without the foil for too long before the end of cooking time.

6.    Carefully put a metal skewer in the cavity and use it to lift the bird and angle it over the roasting tray so all of the juices from the cavity run out. Move the turkey to a platter then cover it with a double layer of tinfoil and 2 tea towels to keep it warm while it rests for at least 30 minutes.


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