Phil cooks up his favourite Christmas turkey and gives his top tips for having the best bird.
He serves up his turkey with delicous spicy and fruity sausage stuffing.
Preparation time: 25 minutes.
Cooking time: 2½ hours, approximately
Serves 8-10 adults
1 x 5 kg just under 12lb, turkey, with giblets and the wish bone removed
2 large carrots, peeled
2 large onion, peeled
6 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves
2 chicken stock cubes
½ bottle dry white wine
2 pints cold water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
55g melted butter
2 tbsp cornflour, approximately
4-6 tbsp cold water
For the stuffing:
500g good quality sausage meat
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 small onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground mixed spice
2 tbsp of roughly chopped sage
100g dried apricots
100g dried raisins
1 large egg
Salt and freshly pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
2. First job is to remove the giblets from the bird, and if you are using a frozen bird then make sure that it is fully defrosted.
3. Season the bird well inside and out well with salt and pepper and pack the stuffing into the body cavityb(see the stuffing method below).
4. Tie the legs and the Parsons nose together with a piece of string and secure well, so the stuffing is held inside the bird.
5. Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place in the bottom of a large baking tray place the turkey on top, the tray should be large enough so the bird has at least 2 inches gap around.
6. Pour in the white wine, cold water and chicken stock cube, and place the whole tray on to the stove.
7. Bring to the boil and cover tightly with two layers of foil and pop into a preheated oven. Cook the bird for about 2 hours, approximately.
8. To check if the bird is cooked, remove from the oven carefully as there will be a lot of stock, wine and turkey juices.
9. Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches itself to the body of the bird, the juices should run clear. If not, then cover again with foil and cook for a further 20 minutes.
10. When the bird is cooked, remove from the oven, turn the oven up to 230C/Gas 8, brush with the melted butter and cook until browned, about 15 minutes.
11. When nicely browned, remove from the oven and carefully, tip off all the stock and keep warm.
12. Wrap the turkey in foil to keep warm, it will keep perfectly wrapped for 1 hour.
13. Re boil the stock and juices, you may need to add a little more water in a saucepan and skim well.
14. Mix the cornflour and water together and thicken the bubbling stock, don’t go mad.
15. Carve the bird the flesh will be soft and juicy, and serve the gravy and stuffing separately.
For the stuffing:
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
2. Add the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.
3. Add the sage and sausage meat and stir well. Just break down the sausage meat but do not actually cook it through.
4. Then cool slightly, add enough bread crumbs to stiffen up the mixture.
5. Stir in the whole egg and beat the whole mixture well.
6. Finally add the nuts and fruit and some salt and pepper.
7. Stuff the bird when required.
AVOIDING TURKEY TROUBLE THIS CHRISTMAS
PHIL'S THREE TOP TURKEY TIPS:
1. Allow plenty of cooking time for your Turkey. The slower you cook it - the better the bird will be.
2. Always rest your Turkey after cooking!
3. If you are using a frozen Turkey, always make sure you defrost it for a minimum of 48 hours in a fridge before cooking.