How to Cook a Roast Turkey Dinner With all The Trimmings This Easter

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Roast Turkey with Herb and Onion Stuffing

Roast Turkey Dinner
Roast Turkey Dinner | Source
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 4 hours
Ready in: 4 hours 20 min
Yields: 8 to 10 people


  • 5kg (11 lbs) turkey, oven ready
  • 100g butter, softend
  • 2 medium onions, skinned and finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks, washed and finely chopped
  • 200g white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 8 back bacon rashers, smoked


  1. Heat half the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onions and celery till soft and translucent. Leave to one side to cool.
  2. Put the breadcrumbs, parsley, rosemary, orange and lemon zest in a deep bowl, add the cooked onion and celery. Stir to mix well. Pour in the beaten egg and combine.
  3. Season with the sea salt and ground black pepper.
  4. Before you begin stuffing your turkey remove the neck and giblets (they should be in the body of the bird). Wash the turkey and pat dry.
  5. Using your hands stuff the cavity of the bird making sure not to pack it in too tightly, stuff the neck of the bird too. Covering the stuffing with the neck skin.
  6. With the turkey breast side up, carefully fold the wing tips underneath the turkey, into the neck skin. Tie the legs together making the body as even and plump as possible.
  7. Place the stuffed bird on a roasting tin and rub the remaining butter into the skin, sprinkle over sea salt and ground black pepper. Lay the bacon over the breast and cover the complete bird with foil.
  8. Place the stuffed turkey in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) and roast for calculated cooking time of 4 hours (based on 20 minutes per lb plus 20 minutes). Remove the foil covering the turkey 30 minutes before it's cooked to crisp the bacon. Remove the bacon when crisp (10 minutes) and continue roasting the turkey to brown the skin.
  9. Remove the turkey and check it's cooked. The easiest way is to use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bird. It should read 71°C. You can also insert a skewer into the thickest part, the juices should run clear.
  10. Remove the turkey from the roasting tin. Cover with a double layer of foil and leave to rest for up to an hour. Now you can get on with the gravy.

Giblet Stock

Place the giblets in a large pot and add a litre of water, 2 onions, 2 carrots, 3 celery sticks, 3 bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary, 6 whole pepper corns and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for at least an hour with the lid on, not to reduce the stock too much. This stock will keep for up to three days

Giblet Gravy


  • 2 tbsp cornflour mixed with a splash of water
  • giblet stock (see above)
  • 150ml of red wine
  • sprig of rosemary
  • a bayleaf
  • tbsp of cranberry sauce
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • knob of butter


  1. Remove excess fat from the roasting tray.
  2. Place tin on the hob over a high heat and add the wine (deglazing). Using a wooden spoon scrape all the sediment from the bottom of the tin mixing into the wine. Add in the stock and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the sprig of rosemary, the bayleaf and cranberry sauce. Stir in the cornflour and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, till the gravy thickens. Sieve the gravy and pour into a pot, add the butter and stir to obtain a lovely, smooth, rich glossy gravy.
  4. Season and serve in a warm gravy boat.

The Vegetables

Prepare your vegetables while your turkey is roasting in the oven.

Crunchy Roast Potatoes


  • 3kg of good quality potatoes
  • 150g of goose fat or duck fat
  • sea salt


  1. Bring the potatoes to the boil in salted water, boiling for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain the water off and leave to steam, when cool enough to handle run a fork over the potato creating lines all around.
  3. When you remove the turkey from the oven, turn the oven up to 200°C (400°F) and melt the goose fat in a roasting tin.
  4. When the fat is sizzling tip the potatoes in and sprinkle over the sea salt.
  5. Cook for about 40 minutes or until crunchy and golden.

Honey Roasted Parsnips


  • 2kg of parsnips cut in two length ways
  • 3 tbsp vegetale oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • cracked black pepper
  • sea salt


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and simmer your parsnips for 5 to 10 minutes till just tender, drain and leave to steam.
  2. 20 minutes before your potatoes are ready, heat the oil in a roasting tin till sizzling, toss the parsnips in the hot oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the parsnips in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes till starting to turn golden, remove from the oven and drizzle over the honey.
  4. Return to the oven (reducing the heat to 180°C/ 350°F) and continue to roast for another 10 minutes or till golden in colour.

Brussels Sprouts and Smoked Bacon


  • 1kg of brussels sprouts
  • 200g of smoked bacon finely diced
  • 50g of butter
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper


  1. Blanch the sprouts in seasoned boiling water for 10 minutes till just tender, drain and run under a cold tap (this will hold their colour). Leave to one side until your almost ready to serve dinner.
  2. Heat a frying pan and add the bacon, fry till crisp and golden. Add the sprouts.
  3. Cook for a minute adding the butter just as you take the sprouts off the heat to obtain a lovely glossy shine.

Orange and Carrot Mash


  • 2kg of baby carrots sliced and diced
  • I bay leaf
  • 2 slices of orange
  • 100 ml or fresh orange juice
  • 50g of butter
  • snipped chives
  • sea salt
  • groung black pepper


  1. Bring a pot of seasoned water to the boil, add the bay leaf, orange slices and orange juice. Toss in the carrots and simmer till tender.
  2. Drain, remove the orange slices and steam. Add in the butter and season. Mash to a fine mash and sprinkle over the chives to serve. If your tight for space or time, this dish can be made earlier and reheated in the microwave.

Cook's Tip

There are lots of great vegetable dishes to choose from: there are no rules. I love mushy peas and always have them with my roast dinner, they make a good alternative for those who don't favor other greens. If you love your mashed potatoes add a little horseradish sauce or whole grain mustard to give a kick. Cauliflower cheese is also another great side vegetable dish. The most important thing: give yourself plenty of time and be organised, oh! and don't forget the cranberry sauce.

Don't Wait to Celebrate

Easter is one of my favorite times of year. The food is an important part of the celebrations from the egg hunt to the main event, usually: roast turkey.

I like to keep things organised, that way I don't panic and things run smooth. I love the smell of food wafting through the house, especially the turkey; the wonderful aromas of roasted meat, crispy bacon and herb stuffing: that's why I don't keep turkey just for an occasion. In my house roast turkey with all the trimmings is a regular visitor to our table. Sunday lunch is a main event with all the family and a plump roast turkey is often the star. Leftover turkey sandwiches are a favorite too :)

© 2013 Gabriel Wilson

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Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 2 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Tanx for reading, and Happy Christmas xxx

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.


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