Bacon-wrapped turkey with mustard and tarragon butter
- December 2019
- Serves 8 with leftovers
- Hands-on time 20 min, oven time 7-10 hours
You can’t rush a classic. It’s time to take things slow with this knockout slow-roast, bacon-wrapped turkey recipe; it makes enough to serve 8 with juicy leftovers to spare.
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- 32.2g (14.5g saturated)
- 7.9g (4g sugars)
- 4kg fresh free-range or organic turkey (we used a Gressingham), giblets removed and used to make stock if you like
- 150g citrus, mustard and tarragon butter, softened
- 3 large carrots, halved lengthways
- 4 thick celery sticks
- 1 large onion or 1 large leek, chopped into large wedges/pieces
- 2 packs free-range British streaky bacon (about 400g total)
- 300ml dry white wine, plus an extra splash
- Chicken stock (or turkey stock made using the giblets), if needed
- Glug olive or rapeseed oil
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp smooth cranberry sauce
- Splash mushroom ketchup or Worcestershire sauce (optional)
You’ll also need…
- Large roasting tin; turkey foil; digital probe thermometer
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Put your hand in the turkey’s neck cavity and carefully loosen the skin from the flesh of the breast. Spread the citrus butter under and over the skin of the breast, then all over the legs. Arrange the veg in the base of the roasting tin to act as a trivet. Sit the turkey on top of the vegetables, season well with salt and pepper, then arrange the bacon over the breast in a lattice pattern.
- Roast the turkey for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven and pour the wine and a cup of water into the tin. Cover with a tent of foil (so the foil isn’t touching the bird), folding the edges together to seal tightly and keep the steam inside. Turn the oven down to 110°C/90°C fan/gas ¼ and roast for 6-8 hours (or longer – see tip). The turkey legs should read at least 70°C on the digital probe thermometer.
- Turn up the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 (or hotter if you’re crisping up roasties), uncover the turkey, then roast for 20-30 minutes until the bacon and turkey legs are well browned. Remove from the oven. Pour or ladle off the cooking juices into a measuring jug. You need 1 litre for the gravy, so top up with chicken stock if you need to.
- To make the gravy, heat the oil in a saucepan and stir in the flour, then cook over the heat, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the turkey cooking juices, whisking well to combine. Stir in the stock then, over a medium-high heat, simmer until the gravy has reduced and thickened (about 20 minutes or to your preferred consistency). Season with the cranberry sauce, mushroom ketchup/Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Keep warm in a pan on a low heat, then reheat, adding a splash of wine just before serving with the turkey.
We tested our bird at 6, 8 and 10 hours and each time the breast meat was moist and flavoursome (with no basting during cooking). We’re confident the slow roast could be done overnight but, either way, the joy of this recipe is that once the turkey has had at least 6 hours it can be carved and eaten or will happily cook for longer. The cooked turkey can also rest, freeing up oven space. It will stay hot for up to 2 hours, covered with foil.
Californian red zinfandel or an Australian shiraz-cabernet blend.
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