Mary Berry’s succulent Christmas turkey and gravy recipe

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Mary Berry, 85, first started her career as a recipe tester and later went on to become food editor of Housewife magazine. She now has over 70 cook books, with a couple of them being Christmas related. With the big day just two days away, what is the best way to cook a turkey according to the foodie?

When it comes to Christmas cooking, Mary has a number of top tips and recipes to help make the big day run smoothly.

With many Britons having much smaller gatherings this year, the chef has the perfect turkey recipe which can be kept for a few days after cooking.

Mary’s recipe is for a 6.3kg turkey and therefore timings could change dependent on turkey size.

The chef also recommends using a thermometer gauge to determine when the bird is cooked and it will read around 75 degrees when fully cooked. 

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– One turkey

– 100g butter, softened

– One lemon

– Few small sprigs fresh thyme

– 1/2 recipe Lemon and Thyme Pork Stuffing

– One onion

One large turkey will typically serve between 12-15 people, but it can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days afterwards.

To begin Mary’s recipe, the oven will need to be preheated to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

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Firstly, loosen the skin over the breast of the turkey and spread the softened butter over the top of the breast under the skin.

Slice the lemon and slip the lemon slices and thyme sprigs in under the skin.

Next, stuff the neck end of the turkey up to the breast with stuffing and secure the loose skin with fine skewers.

Fill the body cavity with any lemon trimmings, herbs and the onion.

Tie the legs with string to give a neat shape and lightly butter the skin of the bird. 

Cook the turkey for around 40 minutes, while it is wrapped in tinfoil and then reduce the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 and cook for another three hours.

Take the turkey out of the oven and baste the bird with any juices in the baking tin.

It then needs to return to the oven for around 30 minutes to allow the skin to brown and become crisp.

Once cooked, cover the turkey and leave to stand for around 30 minutes before carving.

To make a gravy for the dinner, Mary adds chicken stock, white wine and leeks to the turkey roasting tray along with the bird.

They combine with the meat juices to make a delicious base for the gravy.

While the turkey is resting, simply mix a little flour with some fat from the roasting juices and then “continuously whisk as the liquid is added, otherwise it may become lumpy…. You know the consistency is perfect when it coats the back of a spoon,” said Mary.

Mary Berry returns to television screens tonight with her Mary Berry Saves Christmas show.

The programme description reads: “Mary comes to the aid of three members of the public who claim to be hopeless in the kitchen. 

“She gives them a crash course in creating a surprise festive feast for their families, with simple recipes that capture all of the essence and flavours of the season. Helping out in the kitchen will be celebrity sous chefs Jay Blades, Tom Allen and Angela Scanlon.”

Fans can catch Mary on BBC One at 6:30pm.

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