Roast turkey with fennel and paprika
- December 2015
- Serves 8 with leftovers
- Hands-on time 20 min, oven time 2.5 hours, plus resting
A Christmas roast with a spicy twist, if you want to simplify the recipe, just omit the spices and rub with fresh herbs and plenty of seasoning.
Check out how to make proper gravy using the fat from the roast turkey tray, in the tips below.
- 7.5g (2.1g saturated)
For the spice rub
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp ground paprika
- 2 tsp celery salt
For the turkey
- 5-6kg free-range, slow-grown game-hung turkey (see know-how)
- 1 lemon, halved
- Handful woody herbs (such as bay leaves, thyme, rosemary) to stuff, plus extra (optional) to serve
You’ll also need…
- A digital probe thermometer
- For the spice rub, put the fennel seeds in a small pan over a medium heat and toast, shaking occasionally, until fragrant. Grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder with the paprika and celery salt.
- Rub the bird all over with the spice mix, generously coating the skin. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas 4. Put the turkey in your largest roasting tin and stuff the halved lemon in the cavity with the herbs. Cook for 2-2½ hours or until the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 65-70°C (check the butcher’s/breeder’s recommendation) when tested with a digital thermometer.
- Carefully tip the turkey upright a little to pour out the juices from the cavity into the roasting tin, then remove to a board. Once cooked, the turkey can rest for up to 2½ hours, uncovered, without going cold. The internal temperature will rise for a while, so by the time you carve it will be moist and rested.
- Scrape the inside of the roasting tin with a wooden spoon to remove any tasty caramelised bits, then reserve the juices for gravy (see opposite page). If you’re carving the bird at the table, arrange some fresh herbs in the cavity before taking it through.
Proper gravy recipe (serves 8 with leftovers)
Hands-on time 15 min
Proper gravy is easy to make once the turkey comes out of the oven, but if you want to get ahead, you can use goose or duck fat instead of fat from the cooked turkey and make the gravy up to 2 days before. Pour the turkey cooking juices into the gravy on the day; reheat to serve.
Heat 2 tbsp fat from the cooked turkey in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add 2 tbsp plain flour. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until combined, thickened and fragrant. Whisk in 120ml wine or brandy (we like madeira but white wine, red wine or cognac will all work well), bubbling to create a thick paste. Gradually add 600ml good quality fresh chicken stock, whisking, until you have a smooth gravy that lightly coats the back of a spoon. Pour in the resting and roasting juices from the turkey. Reheat to serve.
Nutritional information (per serving)
61kcals, 2.9g fat (0.5g saturated), 2.8g protein, 3.2g carbs (0.3g sugars), 0.1g salt, 0.1g fibre
Make the spice rub up to 1 month in advance and keep cool in an airtight container.
To ensure an evenly roasted bird, take the turkey out of the fridge 3-4 hours before cooking to let it come up to room temperature.
Rate & review
Or, how about...?
Christmas turkey recipes
Old-fashioned roast turkey with fresh herb stuffing
A traditional turkey recipe with a fresh herb stuffing made with your favourite herb.