Rosemary and Bacon Butter-Roasted Turkey
A slow-grown, dry-plucked bird like a Kelly Bronze turkey doesn’t take long to cook. This removes a little stress from the day, and creates more space and time in the oven for all the trimmings.
- 4-6.5 kg turkey, fully defrosted
- 125 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 20g rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
- 1 orange, zest grated and fruit halved
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered
- Turkey giblets
- 400ml water
- 100g smoked streaky bacon
- Remove the turkey from the fridge 2–3 hrs before cooking.
- 1 hour before cooking, put the butter in a mixing bowl and leave for 20 mins or so to warm to room temperature.
- Cut the bacon into thin matchsticks, then finely dice. Add the bacon, rosemary, garlic, orange zest and black pepper to the butter.
- Mix thoroughly using a fork or your hands. Preheat oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan/gas
- Use your fingers to separate the skin of the turkey from the breast to create 2 pockets to stuff the butter into. Do this from the neck end, where the skin will be more robust. Take care towards the leg end as the skin is more likely to tear here.
- Divide butter mixture in two, pushing half into the breast pockets. From the skin side, push each mound of butter up and around the crown of the bird to evenly distribute it.
- Put the onions, giblets and water in a roasting tray, then place the turkey on top. Squeeze the orange halves and put them in the cavity. Slide into the oven.
- Immediately reduce the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3.5.
- Cook for the following times: 4-4.5 kg turkey – 1 hr 30 mins; 5-5.5 kg turkey – 1 hr 50 mins; 6-6.5 kg turkey – 2 hrs.
- Baste the turkey after 40 mins and every 15–20 mins thereafter.
- Around the end of the cooking time, pierce the thickest part of the breast and where the legs meet the crown to check the juices run clear. If not, cook for 15–20 mins more.
- If you have a meat thermometer, check the breast and leg 30 mins before the end. Repeat every 10 mins, until the breast is 60–62°C and the leg is above 80°C.
- When cooked, remove the bird from the tray and rest for 45–60 mins.
- Remove the giblets and onions from the tray, skim off the fat and reduce the juices by half to make or add to your gravy.
- To carve, cut the legs away from the bird first, then the breasts, each in one piece, and slice across their width.