the Christmas centrepiece

recipe by P.A. Mobbs & Sons

For many, turkey makes an annual appearance on Christmas Day only, but this is a real ‘superfood’ being a rich source of protein, niacin, and vitamin B6 among other nutrients. P.A. Mobbs & Sons in Cratfield, Suffolk, have been rearing turkeys since 1934 and they share their fail-safe method for perfect roast turkey here. 

the Christmas centrepiece


Chef’s note: 
There is so much mythology around cooking a turkey. Some people advise wrapping and stuffing the bird with all sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients or soaking it overnight. Others get up at an unearthly hour on Christmas Day to get the bird cooked on time. However, none of this is necessary, especially when using a turkey reared by a local farmer. 

Because our birds are grown slowly and are allowed to mature, they are self-basting, will cook quickly, and will not require much attention once in the oven. So here is how we will be cooking our turkey on Christmas Day.


Valerie Mobbs’ Traditional Turkey Stuffing


For the Turkey

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7.

  2. Place the turkey in a large roasting tin and put in the hot oven, without any added extras, and roast for 30 minutes. Then reduce the temperature of the oven to 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. The length of cooking time will then depend on the turkey’s size. Allow 15 minutes per pound total cooking time, including the first 30 minutes, for a smaller bird, or 12 minutes per pound for a larger bird. Towards the end of cooking, you can place some rashers of streaky bacon over the breast of
    the turkey.

is it done?

  1. The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear if you pierce it with a skewer or fork in the thickest part of the thigh. If you are unsure, you can use a meat thermometer – it should have an internal temperature of 74°C. If the turkey is getting well browned on the skin or legs before it has finished cooking through, cover with foil to prevent further browning towards the end of cooking.

To stuff or not to stuff?

  1. We put stuffing into the neck end only of our bird and leave the body cavity clear. This means that hot air can get into the body cavity and help to cook the bird from the inside. If you do choose to stuff the body cavity, remember that this will increase the cooking time.

Valerie Mobbs’ Traditional Turkey Stuffing

  1. This is a family recipe for a simple and traditional stuffing. It contains no sausage meat and is a good foil for the richness of the dish, being lemony and herby. It is always a part of our Christmas dinner.

  2. Mix together 110g breadcrumbs with the suet, the lemon rind and the chopped parsley. 

  3. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, and bind together with a beaten egg. Either cook in the neck of your bird or in a separate tin.


a small family farming business located in north east Suffolk, where the Mobbs’ family have been growing free range turkeys in a traditional way for over eighty years. 


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