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How to stop your turkey from getting the bird; Our top chef serves up a mouthwatering Christmas Day feast.

Byline: Michael Kilkie

A lot of people end up killing the poor Christmas turkey for the second time - by overcooking it.

The recipe below will help you serve up a succulent, perfectly cooked turkey. Try putting some water and wine in the roasting tray. This creates steam which will keep the turkey moist.

To work out how long to cook your turkey use the following calculation - for every 450g you will need to cook it for 18 minutes. As for accompaniments, we all have our own favourites and here are a few of mine. For the stuffing I like to use Italian sausage meat mixed with sage, Parmesan, toasted pine nuts all bound together with some egg and breadcrumbs. Any good quality sausage meat will do.

As for the veg, after boiling some Brussels sprouts I finish them off by pan frying them with pancetta or bacon and some cooked chestnuts.

When roasting your potatoes, try goose or duck fat to make the ultimate roaster. If you like parsnips, try partboiling them for about three minutes and then roast them in a mixture of olive oil, thyme and honey - delicious.

Traditional roast turkey

INGREDIENTS (Serves 8-10) # 4.5kg - 5.5kg turkey # 125g butter softened # 1 pack sliced pancetta/streaky bacon # 200ml water # 200ml white wine # 1 onion peeled and halved # 1 lemon zested then halved # 1 orange zested then halved # small bunch of rosemary # small bunch of thyme METHOD: Remove the giblets from inside the turkey. Heat the oven to 190[bar]C. Chop half the rosemary and thyme leaves finely and add to the softened butter along with the orange and lemon zest. Spread butter all overthe turkey, season very well then lay the slices of pancetta or bacon over the turkey. Push the remaining herbs, orange and lemon halves and half of the onion into the turkey cavity. Place either a trivet or some roughly chopped veg such as onions or carrots in a large roasting tin for the turkey to sit on. Pour the white wine and water around the turkey. Cover and seal the roasting tin with foil. Cook for the calculated time, removing the foil for the last 3040mins to allow the skin to crisp up. The turkey can now be left covered in a warm place to rest for between 30-45 mins
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 11, 2005
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