The original and best.


  • 4.5-5 kg turkey thoroughly defrosted (if frozen)
  • 100 g butter softened
  • 3 tblsp chopped parsley
  • 0.5 tblsp chopped thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion (cut in half)
  • 1 lemon (cut in half)
  • extra herbs to place in the turkey cavity for flavour


  • Wipe out the cavity of the turkey several times with damp kitchen paper.
  • Wipe the surface of the turkey with damp kitchen paper and then dry thoroughly.
  • Starting at the neck cavity push your fingers gently under the skin and separate the skin from the breast meat without tearing it.
  • Beat the herbs into the softened butter and push this mixture under the skin and cover the breast meat with it.
  • Pull the skin back into place and tuck the wings under the bird. Tie in place. Season well.
  • Place the onion, lemon and herbs into the body cavity of the turkey and tie the legs together.
  • Place the turkey into a large turkey bag and add a little stock before securing it closed. This helps to keep a defrosted turkey in particular moist.
  • Lift into a large roasting dish.
  • Pierce a few small holes in the bag and then put turkey into a pre- heated oven: Fan 170°C (conventional 180°C/Gas 5).
  • The cooking time is approx 3-3½ hours but be careful as the cooking bag tends to cook things faster.
  • Check the bird after 2½ hours. If you have a thermometer place it in the thickest part of the leg and when cooked it will read 90°C. Stick a skewer into the leg and the juices should run clear.
  • You may slit the bag and leave the bird uncovered for the last half-hour to brown it more if desired.
  • Drain all the juices from the tray and leave the bird to rest lightly covered with tinfoil.
  • Separate the fat from the stock (pour a little iced water into the stock and the fat will rise to the surface). Boil the stock for 5 minutes to reduce and concentrate the flavour.
  • Take 1 tbsp of the fat and melt in a saucepan, add 1 tbsp flour. Cook over a low heat for 2 minutes until it becomes sandy in colour, and then gradually add the turkey juices. Whisk in some cranberry sauce and continue to whisk until boiling point is reached.
  • Simmer very gently for 5 minutes to develop the flavour. Serve with the turkey.
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