Traditional roast turkey with sticky pancetta sausages
- December 2005
- Serves 8
- Takes 15 minutes to prepare, 3 hours 50 minutes to roast, plus 30-45 minutes’ resting
This traditional roast turkey with sticky pancetta sausages recipe is flavoured with oranges, herbs and onions.
- 32g (13g saturated)
- 6.7g (2.9g sugar)
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 16 good chipolata sausages
- 24 slices smoked pancetta
- 5.5kg oven-ready turkey (with giblets)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 small oranges, quartered
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary, halved
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 40g butter, at room temperature
- Bay leaves, to garnish
- Warm the honey and brush over the sausages. Wrap each sausage in a pancetta slice. Put into a glass or ceramic ovenproof dish and chill until ready to cook.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/ fan170°C/gas 5. Remove the giblets and set aside to make the gravy stock. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time. So for this 5.5kg turkey, it will be 3 hours 50 minutes. Rinse the turkey inside and out, and dry well. Season the body cavity, then alternately push in the onion, 5 orange quarters and half the herbs. Put 3 orange quarters and remaining herbs in the neck end of the turkey. Take a length of string and loop it round the parson’s nose and drumstick ends and tie neatly in place. Fold the tips of the wings back under the bird. Put on a trivet sitting in a large roasting tin.
- Spread the softened butter over the whole bird, making sure you cover the legs. Season well, then place the remaining pancetta slices on top of the bird. Pour 450ml water into the roasting tin and cover the turkey and roasting tin with a large sheet of foil, sealing it under the rim of the tin. Put in the oven for 3 hours and 20 minutes (or whatever your calculated cooking time is for your turkey size, minus 30 minutes).
- Uncover the turkey and baste with the juices in the tin. Cook for the remaining 30 minutes to brown the skin. To check the turkey is cooked, push a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, it’s cooked; if there are any traces of pink, return to the oven for 15 minutes or so and repeat the skewer test.
- Remove the cooked turkey from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Pop the sausages in to cook for 30 minutes. Carefully lift the turkey from the tin onto a board, letting as much juice drip back into the tin as possible. Set it aside in a warm place, covered in foil, to rest for 30-45 minutes – this will relax the meat, giving you a moist, tender turkey that’s easy to carve.
- Strain the turkey’s cooking juices from the tin into a jug. Allow it to settle, then spoon off and discard the excess fat from the surface, keeping what’s left behind for the gravy.
- Present the roast turkey on a large serving platter and garnish with fresh bay leaves and the remaining orange wedges, if you like. Carve the turkey at the table and serve with the sticky sausages, the gravy and all the trimmings.
Cooking the turkey over a little water keeps it nice and moist, and gives lots of lovely juices for the gravy.
To freeze: prepare the sausages up until the end of step 1, then open-freeze on a baking tray, until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge for 24 hours, then cook as per recipe. (You can’t prepare the turkey and freeze ahead, it will only take minutes on the day.)
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