Roast turkey with rosemary butter and Marsala gravy recipe

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  • Serves 8
  • 15mins to prepare and 3hrs 45mins to cook
  • 645 calories / serving
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Try this spectacular turkey recipe to make really succulent meat and a rich indulgent gravy.

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Pat the turkey dry with kitchen paper and, using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut around and remove the wishbone at the base of the neck, keeping the skin intact. This will make carving easier.
  2. Mix 125g (4oz) butter with the chopped rosemary and plenty of seasoning. Gently push your fingers under the turkey skin from the neck end, easing the skin away from the flesh. Spread the butter under the skin on each breast then, if using, fill the neck end with some stuffing and smooth the skin back into shape, securing it with cocktail sticks.
  3. Put one onion half and the remaining rosemary sprigs in the cavity of the turkey. Cover the skin of the turkey breast and legs with the remaining 25g (1oz) butter and scatter with sea salt to crisp the skin as it roasts.
  4. Put the remaining 5 onion halves in the base of a large, sturdy roasting tin. Sit the turkey on top, breast-side up, and surround with any giblets, if available. Cover the turkey with a layer of buttered foil. Roast for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Cook for 2 hours 30 minutes, uncovering and basting occasionally.
  5. Turn the oven back up to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Remove the foil and cook the turkey for a further 45 minutes, basting occasionally as before, until it turns a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and check the turkey is cooked properly by inserting a skewer between the drumstick and the thigh; the juice should run clear with no trace of pink. If the turkey is cooked, transfer to a serving dish and keep warm while it rests for 30 minutes before carving.
  6. Carefully skim off or pour away the fat from the roasting tin. Put the tin directly over a medium heat and pour the wine and stock over the onions. Scrape the juices from the pan and let the gravy reduce and concentrate in flavour for 10 minutes. Mix the cornflour with a splash of water to make a paste, then whisk into the Marsala and stir into the gravy. Simmer for a few minutes more until thickened. Pour any collected juices from the turkey platter into the tin and strain it all through a sieve into a saucepan. For a thicker gravy, carry on cooking or, if you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little water. Keep warm until ready to serve with the rested, carved turkey.

See more Turkey recipes 

For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home and view the full Food safety at home video.


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  • Ingredients

  • 5kg (10lb) turkey, with giblets
  • 150g (5oz) butter, very soft, plus extra to butter foil
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, 2 sprigs left whole, 2 sprigs stripped and leaves finely chopped
  • 3 onions, cut into wedges
  • For the gravy

  • 400ml (14fl oz) white wine
  • 500ml (17fl oz) turkey or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 120ml (4fl oz) Marsala (or Madeira or sherry)
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  • Energy 2692kj 645kcal 32%
  • Fat 32g 46%
  • Saturates 15g 75%
  • Sugars 5g 6%
  • Salt 1.6g 27%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 9.4g Protein 68.6g Fibre 1.1g

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