Cooking the turkey
This bird deserves respect
This bird deserves respect
Serves 12 with lots of leftovers
Cooks In3 hours 30 minutes : 25 to 30 minutes per kilo for a higher-welfare bird, and 35 to 40 minutes per kilo for a standard bird
DifficultyNot too tricky
Nutrition per serving
Calories 734 37%
Fat 38g 54%
Saturates 16.2g 81%
Sugars 3.5g 4%
Salt 1.3g 22%
Protein 91.9g 183%
Carbs 6.8g 3%
Fibre 1.5g -
Of an adult's reference intake
- 12 rashers of smoked streaky higher-welfare bacon
- 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
- 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
recipe adapted from
Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook
By Jamie Oliver
- Click here for how to prep your bird...
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
- You want to cook a higher-welfare bird for 25 to 30 minutes per kilo, and a standard bird for 35 to 40 minutes per kilo. Higher-welfare birds generally have more intramuscular fat, which means they cook quicker than standard, lean birds. If you’ve got a 7kg bird, like I had here, do it for just over 3 hours, based on the guideline timings above.
- Just under 1 hour before the time is up, get the tray out of the oven and remove the tin foil.
- Cover the bird with your rashers of bacon, stretching and weaving them into a criss-cross pattern however you like. Return the turkey to the oven for the remaining time, or until golden and cooked through.
- The simplest way to check it’s cooked is to stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done. If you’re worried, use a meat thermometer. You want to reach an internal temperature of 65ºC for a top-quality bird, such as Paul Kelly’s turkeys, or 70ºC for a supermarket higher-welfare or standard bird.
- Use heavy-duty tongs to lift up your bird so all the juices run from the cavity into the tray, then transfer the turkey to a platter, cover with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel, and leave to rest for up to 2 hours while you crack on.
- Use your tray of trivet veg and juices to make your gravy. Place the turkey tray over a medium heat on the hob. Skim away most of the fat from the surface into a jar, cool, and place in the fridge for tasty cooking another day.
- Stir the flour into the tray, mashing up all the veg and scraping up all the sticky bits from the base. Pour in up to 2 litres of boiling kettle water and simmer until the gravy is the consistency of your liking, then stir in the cranberry sauce.
- Strain the gravy through a coarse sieve, pushing all the goodness through with the back of a spoon, then season to perfection.
- Keep warm over the lowest heat until needed, adding any extra resting juices from the turkey before serving.
Don’t be under the illusion that when you remove the turkey from the oven it stops cooking. The residual heat will continue to cook the bird, giving the juices time to travel back throughout the meat, meaning a juicier bird all round. Piping hot meat is not a clever thing – warm, juicy meat, hot gravy and hot plates is the holy grail