Kevin Dundon's Christmas classic. Lemon and herb turkey.
Step 1: On Christmas Eve To prepare the traditional stuffing to go in the main cavity of the turkey, melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until translucent, then remove the pan from the heat. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and herbs. Pour over the onion and butter mixture and stir well. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper and allow to cool completely, then refrigerate overnight.
Next, prepare the sausage meat stuffing that will go in the neck cavity. In a large bowl, mix together the sausage meat, dried apricots, onion, garlic, lemon zest and herbs and season well with salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight. To prepare the turkey, remove the turkey giblets from the main cavity, if supplied. Set aside to use later for the gravy.
To make the lemon and herb butter, in a small bowl, beat the butter with the lemon zest and herbs until it’s pliable. Using your fingers, starting with the neck cavity, gently loosen the skin attached to the turkey breast, being careful not to tear or slit the skin.
Carefully push the lemon and herb butter under the skin and spread it all over the breast. Pack the sausage meat stuffing into the neck cavity to give a smooth shape. If there is any left over, roll it
in baking parchment into a pudding shape, then wrap in tin foil to roast along with the turkey the next morning. Place the turkey and stuffing back in the refrigerator overnight.
Step 2: On Christmas morning Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Remove the turkey from the fridge. Line the main cavity with some baking parchment paper, then loosely pack the traditional stuffing into the bird. If possible, using kitchen twine, tie the legs together with the parson’s nose to
keep the legs together while roasting. This helps to keep the stuffing in and makes for a nicer presentation, but it’s not necessary.
Important! Cooking times
Don’t forget to weigh the turkey again with the stuffing enclosed to ensure you calculate the correct cooking time. It should be 40 minutes per kilo plus 40 minutes, so a 7kg turkey will need about 5½ hours. You can also insert a digital thermometer by the leg of the turkey and it should read 70°C.
Prepare the roasting tray by placing the reserved giblets, carrots, onions and garlic in the bottom of the tray to create a trivet for the turkey and to make the gravy later.
Calculate the start time
Work backwards from when you want to serve Christmas dinner and add 15 minutes for the turkey to rest. Season the turkey all over with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven according to the weight of the stuffed turkey. After the first 2 hours, loosely cover the turkey with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much.
Make the gravy
Remove the turkey from the oven, lift out of the roasting tray onto a carving board and loosely cover again with tin foil. Allow the meat to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. You can make
the gravy while the turkey rests.