Season the cavity and skin with salt, In the roasting tray, the bird rests, breast side up, on top of a “trestle” of two leeks and two carrots, cut in half, lengthwise. Slather the skin with 4 Tbsp softened butter. Pour in cider and water (or stock) to an inch depth. Add the neck for flavor, this liquid will be used for the gravy later. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and stick it in the oven. Check the pan occasionally so that it does not dry out and burn, add more hot water if necessary. The liquid and the foil keeps the meat tender and moist. Nothing much to do for an hour and a half, but check out Santa’s loot.
The key to perfect, crispy roast potatoes and sweet potatoes, is duck fat. Otherwise use sunflower seed oil. Scrub the spuds, chop roughly and roast for an hour and a half, turning occasionally. I also threw in a few sausages for the kids, just in case... turkey still looking good at half-time.
At this time, I finished my preparation by par-boiling the brussels sprouts for 5 minutes, and frying up half an onion (finely sliced) in olive oil with a pinch of sugar. Fry until onion is browned and caramelized. Drain the sprouts, add to the onions and heat for a further 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, toss with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a pinch of salt and set aside until 20 minutes before serving.
Forty minutes before the turkey is ready, take the foil off to let the skin crisp up.
When the turkey is ready, cover again with foil and let rest on a carving board for twenty minutes. In the meantime, fry up the prepared brussels sprouts and onion with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and the french beans.
For the gravy, place the roasting tray on a burner, on high heat. Add 2 cups of chicken stock, scraping up the bottom of the pan (make sure there are not too many burnt bits, as this will make the gravy very bitter). Strain into a small saucepan and add one tablespoon of cornstarch that has been dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water. Let boil for ten minutes or so, until it thickens.
There are always a lot of things happening just before serving and everything is coming together. Place anything that has finished cooking on heat-proof serving dishes and keep warm in the oven (which has been turned off when the turkey was taken out). Put your dinner plates in for a few minutes too.
All the leftover turkey will make an awesome soup TOMORROW.