This is the easiest way to roast a turkey, and fortunately, for many people, it's also the best.
Forget about having the time to brine it or trying to turn it over while it cooks – this method is absolutely foolproof.
- 1 x 4.5–5.4kg (10–12lb) oven-ready turkey (preferably free-range), at room temperature
- 1 quantity sausage stuffing
- 15–18 rindless streaky bacon rashers
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- small bunch of fresh herbs (to include parsley, sage and bay leaves), to garnish
- bunch of thyme
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
For the butter
- 100g butter
- zest of 1 lemon, then halved
- zest of 1 orange, then halved
- 2 tbsp of chopped herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and flat leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).
- To make the infused butter, melt the butter in a pot, add in the chopped herbs, lemon zest and orange zest. Allow to infuse and stir.
- Turn the turkey breast side up and pack the neck cavity loosely with stuffing (if using), then tie the top of the drumsticks together with string.
- Using the halved orange and lemon place into the cavity of the turkey along with the thyme.
- Smear with most of the butter and season generously, then place the bacon over the breasts to cover them completely.
- Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra.
- Place the chopped carrot & red onion in the bottom of a roasting tin. Place the stuffed turkey in the centre of the roasting tray, breast side up. Brush over the infused butter.
- Cover with overlapping streaky bacon. Drizzle over rapeseed oil. Pour a jug of cold water into the end of the roasting tray. Cover with a double layer of tin foil.
- Put in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting the turkey every 40 minutes.
- For the final hour, fold back and remove the foil, keeping the ends of the drumsticks still covered in foil to prevent them from burning. Baste well and return to the oven. The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour.
- To make sure it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes, until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right through.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine).
- To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the neck cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed plates with all the trimmings.