Cider roast turkey

Cider roast turkey

Serves 6–8

I feel like turkey has been inflicted on me, even though I’ve written recipes for it as my duty. The only reason it graces my table at Christmas is because others want it. Sure, I get the symbolism of it all, but for the most part, turkey just leaves me cold – they don’t use that expression for nothing.

So if I have to have it, I like to break with tradition and I cook the bird with cider. It imbues an appley moistness to the meat and goes wonderfully with the stuffing. I use the cooking juices to form the gravy. It isn’t brown but I’m not one bit worried.


1 x 5–6kg turkey
4 onions, cut into thick slices
125g smoked bacon lardons
2 cinnamon sticks or a pinch of ground cinnamon
2 large sprigs of fresh sage or thyme
2 x 440ml cans of cider
250g butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey and set aside. Trim any excess fat from the opening and stuff the turkey with the chorizo, orange and almond stuffing, taking care not to pack it too tightly.

Put the onions and smoked bacon lardons on the base of your roasting tin along with the turkey neck, cinnamon and herbs. Perch the turkey on top of the onions, then pour one can of cider around. Brush the turkey liberally with the melted butter and season well.

Cover the tin tightly with foil, making sure to seal around the edges. Cook in the oven for 2 hours 45 minutes.

Remove the tin from the oven and turn the heat up to 185°C. Remove the foil, then pour in the other can of cider. Put the tin back in the oven to roast for another 30 minutes. Baste the turkey a few times in this last phase to give the bird a lovely golden sheen.

When cooked, transfer the turkey to another tray, cover it loosely in foil and allow to rest.

Strain the cooking juices from the tin into a saucepan and let it settle. Any fat will rise to the top – ladle this off. Bring the juice to the boil and reduce by one-third. This is your gravy.

Serve with Brussels sprout gratin.

From BUTTER BOY by Paul Flynn

Photo by Harry Weir

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