Christmas spice-rubbed turkey

Christmas spice-rubbed turkey
  • Serves icon Serves 8 with plenty of leftovers
  • Time icon Hands-on time 45 min, oven time 2-2½ hours, plus 1 days marinating

Break from tradition and add some spice to your Christmas Day turkey. This one is rubbed with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mace and coriander seeds.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
346kcals
Fat
17.2g (8.6g saturated)
Protein
47g
Carbohydrates
0.9g (0.8g sugars)
Fibre
0.2g
Salt
1.2g
Calories
346kcals
Fat
17.2g (8.6g saturated)
Protein
47g
Carbohydrates
0.9g (0.8g sugars)
Fibre
0.2g
Salt
1.2g

Ingredients

  • 6kg free-range slow-grown turkey
  • 1 orange, halved
  • Fresh bay leaves for stuffing 
  • Vegetable oil for drizzling

For the spice rub

  • 2 small cinnamon sticks 
  • 8 dried allspice berries
  • 6 cloves 
  • Grated zest 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 4 mace blades 
  • 5 bay leaves 
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds 
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt 
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar

For the herb butter

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped 
  • 6 fresh thyme or lemon thyme sprigs, leaves picked 
  • 4 fresh oregano sprigs (optional), leaves picked and roughly chopped 
  • Small bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves finely chopped

Method

  1. For the spice rub, whizz all the ingredients in a spice grinder or pound in a pestle and mortar until the mixture resembles a damp, sandy powder (see Make Ahead). 
  2. For the herb butter, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season generously. Spoon half onto a sheet of cling film, wrap and shape into a disk, then freeze. Repeat with the remaining butter (see Make Ahead). 
  3. Two days before cooking, defrost the spice rub, smear all over the turkey, then leave in the fridge, loosely covered in cling film, for the spices to permeate the skin.
  4. On the day of cooking, defrost or soften the herb butter. Take the turkey out of the fridge 2 hours before you plan to put it in the oven. Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/ gas Loosen the skin of the turkey neck, and, using your fingers, create 2 pockets between the skin and the breast Ð try not to tear the skin. Stuff the herb butter into the pockets, massaging it down as far as you can. Put the orange halves and some of the bay leaves in the turkey cavity and drizzle a little oil over the bird.
  5. Put in a large roasting tin and cook for 2-21⁄2 hours until a digital thermometer reads 65-70¡C when inserted into the thickest parts of the meat. If it looks as if the spices are burning, cover loosely with foil. Remove from the oven, leave for 10 minutes, then tip the bird up to pour out any juices from the cavity. Remove to a lipped board and rest for up to 2 hours.

delicious. tips

  1. Start the recipe 2 days before you want to serve. You can make the spice rub in advance and keep it chilled, covered, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 months. Make the herb butter well in advance and freeze.

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September 2019