Neven Maguire’s roast turkey with streaky bacon and Christmas gravy

Neven Maguire’s roast turkey with streaky bacon

Neven Maguire’s roast turkey with streaky bacon

Fri, Dec 22, 2017, 11:23

  • Serves: 12
  • Cooking Time: 220 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • Serves 10-12
  • 1 x 4.5-5.4kg (10-12lb) oven-ready turkey (preferably free-range), at room temperature
  • 1 quantity stuffing (optional)
  • 100g (4oz) butter, softened
  • 15-18 rindless streaky bacon rashers
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Small bunch of fresh herbs (to include parsley, sage and bay leaves), to garnish
  • For the gravy:
  • Makes about 500ML (18 FL OZ)
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp Madeira
  • 600ml (1 pint) turkey or goose stock
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


This is the easiest way to roast a turkey, and fortunately, for many people it’s also the best. Forget about having the time to brine it or trying to turn it over while it cooks - this method is absolutely foolproof.

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

2 Turn the turkey breast side up and pack the neck cavity loosely with stuffing (if using), then tie the top of the drumsticks together with string. Smear with most of the butter and season generously, then place the bacon over the breasts to cover them completely. Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra.

3 Lay a large sheet of foil lengthways over a large roasting tin, leaving enough at each end to wrap over the turkey, then lightly butter the foil. Repeat with another sheet of foil, but this time laying it across the tin. Place the stuffed turkey in the centre of the foil, breast side up, then wrap loosely to enclose but still allowing air to circulate around the turkey.

4 Put in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting the turkey every 40 minutes. For the final hour, fold back and remove the foil, keeping the ends of the drumsticks still covered in foil to prevent them from burning. Baste well and return to the oven. The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour. To make sure it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh - the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes, until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine).

5 To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the neck cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed plates with all the trimmings.

For the gravy: A good gravy is a crucial component to the Christmas meal and many a dinner is judged on its success. It really is worth making a good stock with the giblets for the best flavour. If you haven’t got Madeira, use port or red wine instead. If you want to get ahead, make the gravy the day before using butter instead of the fat, then add it to the roasting tin and bring to a simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

1 Pour the turkey or goose juices from the roasting tin into a jug, then spoon off 2 tablespoons of the fat (which will be floating on the top) and put this back into the unwashed tin. Spoon off any remaining fat from the cooking juices and discard.

2 Put the roasting tin directly on the hob over a gentle heat and stir the flour into the residue in the tin. Cook on the hob for a minute or two, stirring, until golden. Pour in the Madeira, stirring to combine, then gradually add the stock, stirring until smooth after each addition. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for about 10 minutes, until reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.

3 Whisk in the redcurrant jelly (if using) until dissolved, then add the skimmed juices from the roasted bird back into the gravy and season to taste. Strain into a warmed gravy boat to serve.

Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas is published by Gill Books, €22.99