How to make the perfect Christmas roast turkey by Marco Pierre White
The Michelin starred chef and Hell's Kitchen presenter gives easy-to-follow advice for turning out great tasting turkey, gravy, sprouts and roasties
For the perfect turkey
- Turkeys are enormous birds. Try this: Don't cook your turkey whole. Get the butcher to remove the wings and legs, leaving the crown. Chop each leg in half to get a thigh and a drumstick.
- Make a stuffing of half vegetable stuffing and half sausage meat with fresh sage, parsley, thyme and onion. Create a pocket under the turkey's skin and fill with stuffing to keep the meat moist.
- Make a base in the roasting dish with the leftover turkey (drumsticks, giblets and wings) and put the crown and thighs on the top.
- Drizzle with oil and roast at 160ºC, 320ºF. A 10-12lb bird will take about 1.5 hours, and thighs about 55mins.
- Use a meat probe to check when it's ready. Perfect temperature is 72ºC for the thighs and 66ºC for the breast.
For the perfect cranberry sauce
- Combine cranberries, a touch of sugar, and a splash of port and orange juice in a pan.
- Bring the ingredients to the boil
- You can make this up to a week in advance.
For the perfect gravy
- Combine a stock cube with cold water and whisk.
- Keep on adding more stock cube mixture to taste until it's too your liking. You don't need a recipe. That's just a guideline. Use your tastebuds to get it right.
- In a cup, combine a teaspoon of cornflour and a few drops of cold water. Add this to your stock cube liquid.
- Add a touch of gravy browning for colour.
- Heat over a medium heat while whisking.
- Add your giblets from the bottom of your roasting tin to add flavour.
- Separate the fat from the roasting sediment in your roasting tin and then add the sediment to your gravy.
- Drain the gravy to remove the giblets before you serve it.
- You can even add a bit of the roasting tin fat into your gravy before you serve if you want. Doing this makes it into what's called Jus Gras - a posh way of saying 'fat juice'.
- You can make your gravy in advance and then remove it from the heat and cover the saucepan with clingfilm to stop it evaporating or getting a skin on it.
For the perfect sprouts
The tastiest sprouts are achieved simply by roasting them in butter. And you don't need to worry about buying fresh ones, frozen are just as good.
For the perfect roast potatoes
Boil your potatoes the day before. Then shake them in the pan and pop them in the fridge. They'll get a really lovely starchy crust on them that will roast up a treat.
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