First, treat yourself to a decent turkey, one with a good pedigree and provenance—no amount of culinary magic can turn a broiler turkey into anything other than a gastronomic abomination.
Low-temperature roasting method
For this recipe, any stuffing will have to be cooked separately. Very low-temperature roasting (i.e, below 100°C) is designed to bring the bird very slowly to between 61°C and 63°C, which is the temperature
at which it will be cooked and all potential pathogens knocked on the head—provided that temperature
has been maintained for 30 minutes at 61°C or 17 minutes at 63°C. This procedure reduces the tightening up of the muscle structure to a minimum, keeps in as many natural juices as possible, and produces a tender, tasty and succulent turkey.
So, set your oven as low as it will go—in an ideal world, below 100°C, say 70-80°C. Your oven thermostat may not be that accurate, so you’ll need a meat thermometer, too. Put the turkey in a roasting pan on its side, one thigh upwards. Add a little water to the pan and place at the bottom of the oven. After three hours, turn it so the other thigh is on top. After three hours more, turn it on its back, so the breast faces down. Whenever you turn the turkey, use the meat thermometer to check the internal temperature at critical points (i.e, the thickest part of the breast, the thickest part of the thigh, and inside the thigh, where it’s tucked into the bird). If it goes a few degrees over 63°C, don’t worry—it won’t ruin the dish; and if it looks as if it might not hit the magic 61°C in the time available, just turn up the heat by 15 degrees or so. You may lose some of the juices along the way as the fibres tighten up, but it’ll still be a fabulously juicy bird.
Orthodox roasting method
According to American great Julia Child in The Way to Cook, timings should be as follows:
At 170°C /325F/Gas 3 allow 4 hours for a 5.5 – 7.2 kg (12-16lb) bird or 5 hours for a 7.2 – 9kg (16-20lb) bird with 20 to 30 minutes more if you’ve stuffed the bird. Or, you can blast it for 30-45 minutes at 220°C /425F/Gas 7 and then give it 15-20 minutes per pound at 170°C /325F/Gas 3 plus 30 minutes resting at the end. For 5.5 – 7.2 kg (12-16lb) try 35 minutes at the high temperature plus 3-4 hours at the low plus 30 minutes resting; for 7.2 – 9kg (16-20lb) try 45 minutes at the high temperature plus 4-5 hours at the low plus 30 minutes resting.
Test the temperature of the turkey at the critical points (breast, thighs, inside thighs) with a meat thermometer—they should all be 61°C or more. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, jab a knife in and if the juices run clear and not pink or bloody, you’ll be ok.
500g chicken wings
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Dried milk powder
Water (or water and white wine)
Salt & pepper
This method will produce a wonderful deep brown gravy. We suggest making this a day or two in advance.
Turn on the oven to 190°C /375F/Gas 5. Roll the giblets and wings in the vegetable oil and then in the dried milk powder so that they’re coated with both. Put the giblets and wings onto a roasting tray, and put into the oven for 20 minutes or so, until their outsides have gone golden brown. Transfer them to a saucepan and cover with water or a mixture of white wine and water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Strain the liquid into a fresh pan and reduce until you like it.