About this recipe:An incomparably moist roast turkey, roasted to perfection with savoury herbs and a hint of maple syrup. The gravy is delicious and could benefit from a glug or two of calvados, if liked.
475ml cold-pressed apple juice
5 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
1 (6kg) whole turkey, giblets reserved
325g chopped onion
125g chopped celery
125g coarsely chopped carrots
475ml chicken stock
For the gravy
700ml chicken stock, or as needed
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
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Method Prep:45min › Cook:4hr › Ready in:4hr45min
Boil apple juice and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 125ml, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest. Add the butter and whisk until melted. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cold (this can be made up to 2 days ahead).
Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Place oven rack in the lowest third of oven.
Place turkey in a large roasting tin. Slide hand under skin of the breast to loosen breast skin. Rub about 8 tablespoons of the maple-butter mix under the skin of the breast. If planning on stuffing turkey do so now. Rub 4 tablespoons of the maple-butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. With kitchen string tie legs of turkey together loosely.
Arrange the onion, celery and carrot around the turkey in the roasting tin. If desired the giblets may be added to the vegetables (if you have them). Sprinkle the remaining thyme and marjoram over the vegetables and pour 475ml chicken stock into the tin.
Roast turkey at 190 C / Gas 5 for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180 C / Gas 4, and cover turkey loosely with foil (shiny side towards turkey). Continue to roast until very tender, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 3 to 4 hours unstuffed, 4 to 5 hours stuffed. Pierce the leg joint with a fork, if the juices run clear or faintly pink then the turkey is done. Transfer turkey to a platter and cover with foil. Reserve pan juices for gravy.
To Make Gravy: Strain pan juices into a measuring jug. Let fat rise to the top and then spoon fat from juices. Add enough chicken stock to make 700ml. Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil.
Mix 3 tablespoons of the reserved maple-butter mixture with the flour in a small bowl to form a paste. Whisk paste into hot stock. Add the chopped fresh thyme and bay leaf. Boil until reduced and thickened slightly, whisking occasionally. Season with salt and ground pepper to taste before serving.