A large sheet of fine muslin about 1 metre square is needed for this recipe. It is saturated in melted butter and wrapped around the bird before roasting, which does away with the need for basting during cooking. When the muslin is removed the bird will be brown and crisp.
1. Stuff the stuffing into the neck end of the turkey, making sure that the breast is well plumped. Draw the skin flap down to cover the stuffing. Secure with skewer.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
3. Melt butter and in it soak a very large piece of butter muslin (about 4 times the size of the turkey) until all the butter has been completely absorbed.
4.Season the turkey well with salt and pepper. Place it in a large roasting pan with the giblets, except the liver, and neck. Add the onion, bay leaves and parsley stalks and pour in the water. Completely cover the bird with the doubled butter-muslin and roast in the prepared oven for the time calculated (a 5.35kg/12lb turkey should take about 3½ hours).
5. Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes: make each chipolata sausage into 2 cocktail-sized ones by twisting gently in the middle.
Take the rind off the bacon and stretch each rasher slightly with the back of
a knife, cut into 2 and roll up. Put the sausages and bacon rolls into a second roasting pan, with the bacon rolls wedged so they cannot unravel. Forty – five minutes before the turkey is ready, put the sausages and bacon in the oven.
6. When the turkey is cooked, the juices that run out of the thigh when pierced with a skewer should be clear. Remove the muslin and lift the bird on to a serving dish. Surround with the bacon and sausages and keep warm while making the gravy.
7. Pour the juices and fat from the pan into a jug. Skim 45ml/11/2fl oz fat and return to the roasting tin. Stir in the flour. Cook the flour over a medium heat until deep straw colour.
8. Remove from the heat. Gradually stir in the stock or vegetable water. Bring to the boil, stirring, and boil for 2 minutes until syrupy. Check the seasoning. Strain into a warmed gravy boat.
Recipe taken from Leiths Meat Bible, Max Clark & Susan Spaull (Bloomsbury)
Nicola Swift – Creative Food Director, The Ginger Pig
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