Mel and Mal's Roast Turkey

  • 1 turkey, (usually around 4kg to feed 8), giblets removed
  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tbsp of live oil
  • Maldon sea salt
  • 3 onions, halved, skins removed

Cooking a turkey, whether its for the first time or you are an old hand, doesn't need to be complicated. This recipe is really easy and your turkey is cooked perfectly.

The butter baste will ensure that you get a lovely crispy skin but still leave the meat juicy and succulent.

Serves : 8        Prep/Cooking Time : 2.5 hrs + resting

Tip : Before you buy your turkey, make sure it is going to fit into your oven! I have heard of many people who have prepared the bird beautifully only to try and get it into their oven and it wont fit!! Measure up first!!!


Prepare and Make the Baste

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

**IMPORTANT** For hygiene reasons, the Food Hygiene & Standards Agency tell us NOT wash raw poultry as a food bug called campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and can be very serious.

In a small bowl, mix the butter and lemon zest and then using your fingers, gently spread the mix evenly under the skin of the bird, from the neck end down, then over the breasts, then smooth the skin back down again.

Drizzle some oil over the turkey then rub all over with your hands, finishing with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Place the halved onions in the bottom of a large roasting tin and sit the turkey on the top.

Cover well with foil then cook the turkey for 25 minutes per kilo (1hr 40 mins for a 4kg bird but calculate according to the weight of the bird).

Remove the turkey from the oven and remove the foil. Turn up the oven to
220°C and put the bird back into the oven for a further 30 minutes until the skin is turning golden.

Testing the Bird is Cooked Through & Rest (the bird, not you!)

It is very important the poultry is cooked thoroughly and the easiest way to do it is to use a skewer. Piece the fattest part of the thigh and if the juices run clear, the bird is cooked. If the juices are still a little pink, pop the bird back into the oven for a further 15 mins, then test again.

When you are happy the turkey is cooked through, remove it from the oven and cover loosely with the foil for at least 45 minutes before serving. This is called "resting" time.

Whilst still warm, pour out all those lovely cooking juices to use in the gravy.
The onions can be served on the plate with the turkey as they will be soaked with all the goodness from the bird - absolutely delicious!

MJ Harradine Ltd. Registered number 04633171
1 Yardley Way, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 0ES