3 hours / 3 hours 30 minutes
1 onion, quartered
Fresh bay leaves (to flavour and serve)
4½ -5.6kg/10-12lb bronze turkey, giblets removed
1 quantity of stuffing
85g butter, softened
1 whole nutmeg
10 rashers streaky bacon
Glass red wine (Merlot)
To serve – pigs in blankets
Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Put the onion and a large sprig of bay in the cavity between the legs. Now pack half the stuffing into the neck end, pushing it towards the breast. Secure the neck skin in position with skewers and tie the turkey legs together at the top of the drumsticks to give a neat shape.
Weigh the turkey and calculate cooking time at 20 mins per kilo, plus 90 mins. (You may need to use your bathroom scales.)
Put a large sheet of extra-wide foil in a large roasting tin, then put the turkey on top. Smear the breast with the butter, grate over half the nutmeg and season well. Cover the breast with bacon, pour over the wine, then loosely bring up the foil and seal well to make a parcel.
Roast in the oven, then 90 mins before the end of cooking, open the foil, discard the bacon, and drain off excess fat from the tin. Leaving the foil open, return the turkey to the oven to brown, basting with the juices several times. Then 30 mins before the end of cooking, place pigs-in-blankets and stuffing of your choice around the turkey, or cook in a separate lightly oiled tin.
To test whether the turkey is cooked, push a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear. If they are pinkish, cook for 15 mins more, then test again.
Transfer the turkey, stuffings and pigs-in-blankets to a platter, cover with foil, then a couple of tea towels and allow to rest for up to 30 mins before carving. This gives the juices time to settle back into the meat, ensuring that the turkey will be juicy. Garnish with sprigs of bay.