Prep the bird
When it comes to cooking the perfect Christmas turkey, I suggest just the one, really mouth-watering, way!
First, put some chopped veg, fresh herbs – try sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley – a little oil, sea salt and the giblets in a large roasting tin. Then season the turkey inside and out; firstly rub all over with oil – Suffolk rapeseed oil is my choice – then rub in liberal sprinkles of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cut a lemon into quarters, along with a large onion or two. Tear some bay leaves in half and put these, with the lemon and onion, inside the main cavity of the turkey.
Mix butter and roughly chopped fresh hard herbs – I like thyme, oregano, rosemary – and rub this mixture under the skin of the breasts.
Check the juices
Check your turkey is thoroughly cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the breast and thighs. Juices should run clear. If not, cook for another 15 minutes and try again. If you are in any doubt, use a meat thermometer (we stock them in Home and Garden) and ensure the bird reaches 70C for 2 minutes.
Transfer your cooked turkey to a warmed dish, cover tightly with buttered foil and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes if not an hour before carving.
Truss the turkey
Now place the bird in the roasting tin, breastside down (this is crucial for keeping the meat succulent). Cover it loosely with foil and roast in oven preheated to 200C (Fan)/400F/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes, then turn down to 180C (fan)/350F/gas mark 4, for 45 minutes per kilo (20 minutes per pound). Bast the juices over the bird every hour.
30 minutes to an hour (depending on size – larger the turkey, more the time) before the end of the cooking time remove the foil and turn your turkey breastside up to brown and crisp the skin. Return it to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.