I didn’t cook turkey this year, in fact I cannot recall the last time that I did. I hate it when it is dry and I find the taste rather bland so I usually cook a fattier bird at festive time and this year I chanced upon a pularda, fattened hen, which had been corn fed. It looked worthy of representing Xmas day.

There are some simple rules to follow.

Make sure the bird is at room temperature.

Gently force butter under the skin, you can add herbs too if you wish.

Grind all over with black pepper.

Layer the bird with streaky bacon making sure to cover the legs as they will cook the quickest.

Add a fresh orange half, garlic clove and bay leaf to the cavity.

Cook stuffing seperately.

Sit the bird on a bed of chopped vegetables, carrot, onion, celery and garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil and a good grind of black pepper.

Baste frequently for even browning.

Allow to rest under loosely covered foil for at least 15 minutes or more if you are cooking a large bird.

Roast Pularda