The roast turkey is the central part of a traditional Christmas dinner, but it needn't be daunting. Make sure you have all of the ingredients ready for this recipe - planning ahead is crucial for getting the Christmas dinner to the table, and the turkey in particular must not be delayed.
Be sure to prepare the stuffing well in advance so that you don't end up held up on Christmas morning - our pork and chestnut stuffing recipe can be made well in advance and frozen, ready to be defrosted 24 hours before use.
First make the giblet stock. Chop the vegetables and place in a pan with 1 litre/1 3/4 pts cold water, the peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, skim then simmer for 1 hour. Strain, cool, skim and chill until required.
Pre-heat the oven to 425F/220C/gas mark 7. Peel the onions. Quarter one and chop the others.
Now to roast the turkey. In a roasting tin, make a bed for the turkey with chopped onion and bay leaves. Fill the neck cavity with the stuffing and secure. Quarter the lemon and crush the garlic. Fill the cavity of the bird with the quartered onion, lemon, garlic and rosemary.
Place the turkey over the chopped onions and smear with butter.
Season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
Remove most of the fat from the pan, squeeze the lemon over the bird and add the wine. Cover the breast, ends of the drumsticks and the stuffing with foil if it looks too brown and return for a further 2 1/2 hours, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes.
Insert a skewer or meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear (or the temperature reads 72C) then you know it's done. If not return for a further 30 minutes.
When cooked, remove to a serving platter, cover with foil and leave for at least 30 minutes before carving, allowing the meat to relax, resulting in juicier flesh.
For the gravy, remove as much fat as possible from the juices in the pan. Place the pan over a medium heat and add the redcurrant jelly and wine. With a wooden spoon, loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and simmer gently as the jelly melts.
Add the giblet stock, bring to the boil and stir in the cornflour until it thickens slightly.
Simmer for 5 minutes, season to taste, strain into a jug and keep warm.