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Perfect Christmas Turkey Recipe With Stuffing and Gravy

Updated on December 4, 2019
ElizaDoole profile image

I am a passionate writer with 22 years’ experience in the industry, writing for various print and online media here in England and abroad.

The Perfect Christmas Dinner

Cooking the perfect turkey makes Christmas dinner the best meal of the year.
Cooking the perfect turkey makes Christmas dinner the best meal of the year. | Source

How To Cook a Xmas Turkey

Xmas Turkey

Xmas Turkey recipes can be a bit hit and miss, I find. After years of searching and combining recipe ideas, I found the best turkey recipe and stuck to it.

If you are cooking the Christmas turkey this year and want the perfect turkey roast you can stop the panic. You can make it without getting up at the crack of dawn and you can prepare part of it the day before.

The turkey cooking times below includes 4 hours of cooking time and 1 hour of resting the bird wrapped in double foil. This is for a 6.5kg turkey bird. I find this allows you lots of time and a free oven with which to roast the potatoes in goose fat, cook the stuffings and sausages and make the turkey giblet gravy.

This is the best christmas recipe I've ever found, and I make it for two (even though it serves 10), and we eat it over the next five days because it stays moist and the taste is lush. I also like that it does not use bacon on the breast meat.

Best Roast Turkey Recipe

5 stars from 1 rating of Roast Turkey Xmas Dinner

Turkey Cooking Times

Prep time: 1 hour 15 min
Cook time: 5 hours
Ready in: 6 hours 15 min
Yields: Serves 10 with leftovers

It's my turn cooking Christmas Turkey

It's My Turn Cooking Perfect Christmas Turkey: How To Cook Christmas Dinner
It's My Turn Cooking Perfect Christmas Turkey: How To Cook Christmas Dinner
This book on Kindle contains a great turkey recipe and includes a shopping list of ingredients. There's recipes for what to do with turkey leftovers and how to dress your Christmas dinner table. I've used most of the material in this book and have used this recipe each year. The gravy is divine.

Turkey, Stuffing and Gravy for Xmas Ingredients

  • 6.3kg or 14lb Turkey
  • 150g or 5 oz Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 12.5g Sage, fresh herb
  • 12.5g Thyme, fresh herb
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thickly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 175g/6oz prunes, ready to eat pitted and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 25g/1oz butter, salted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • If you have it from the giblets the liver from the turkey, chopped
  • 900g/2lb coarse sausage meat, available from the butchers
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped fresh
  • 1 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 50g/2oz breadcrumbs, fresh white
  • 1 egg, large and beaten
  • 100g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 185g pancetta, sliced
  • extra oil, for greasing
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 570 - 725 ml chicken (stock cubes) or giblet stock, boil giblets in water to get stock
  • 250 ml mellow red or fruity white wine
  • 4-5 tablespoons Marsala, madeira or port is a good substitute
  • 1 teaspoon red currant jelly, cranberry jelly is a good substitute
  • 1-2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 lemon for juice, a good squeeze
  • lemon zest, use the same lemon as above
  • 1 small wooden skewer, or kebab skewer stick
  • string any kind for tying the legs
  • 1 disposable roasting tray, highly recommended as you can easily tip the cooking juices into the gravy

Perfect Turkey Roast Instructions

  1. Do Ahead or make on the day - Herb Butter and Stuffing The stuffing can be frozen or left overnight in the fridge. It is important to take the turkey out of the fridge 2 hours before cooking it, so that it loses its chill and the herb butter and stuffing are at room temperature.
  2. Pistachio, Prune and Pork Stuffing Put the prunes in a small bowl with the brandy. Heat 25g butter and olive oil in a frying pan, add the large onion peeled and finely chopped, a pinch of salt and cook gently for 12 - 15 minutes until soft and sweet, but not browned.
  3. Add the coriander seeds and cook for 1 minute then add the turkey liver (if using) and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Leave to cool.
  4. Break up the sausage meat in a large bowl and gradually work the breadcrumbs, thyme and allspice into it. Stir in the cold, cooked onion and the beaten egg. Season with half a teaspoon of salt and lots of pepper then gently mix in the prunes and pistachios.
  5. Herb Butter Melt 20g/150g of the unsalted butter in a small pan over a medium heat and when bubbling add the small onion peeled and finely chopped with a pince of salt. Turn the heat to low and let the onion cook gently for 10-12 minutes until softened but not browned. Let it cool.
  6. Chop 1 teaspoon each of the sage and thyme. Mash the rest of the unsalted butter (130g) in a bowl with a fork and mix in the cooled ionion, the chopped sage and thyme and the zest of half the lemon. Season well with pepper and salt.
  7. Preheat the oven to 220C, fan oven 200C, gas mark 7.
  8. Lift the flap of skin at the neck end of the turkey and with your fingers lift the skin away from the breast meat on each side by pushing your fingers underneath the skin. You can wear latex gloves if you are squeamish. Then insert and smear nearly all of the herb butter mixture over the breast meat between it and the skin layer. Use about one third of the stuffing mixture to stuff the neck end (not too tightly), then fold the skin flap under and secure with a small wooden skewer.
  9. Up the other end of the turkey, season the body cavity with salt and pepper then halve the lemon and push it into the body cavity with a small bunch of some of the remaining sage and thyme. (Not chopped). Spread the remaining butter over the legs and breast of the turkey. You can tie the legs together with string and place a small amount of foil over the little stumps at the base.
  10. Lightly oil (vegetable oil) the large disposable roasting tin and lay the large onion that was peeled and thickly sliced in the centre. Scatter any remaining sage and thyme over this. Lay the turkey on this bed, breast side upwards, and cover the whole tin with one layer of foil, sealing it tightly at the edges and tenting it over the turkey to allow it space to cook. (About half a finger width room above the turkey so the foil is not touching as much as possible).
  11. Put the turkey in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 180C, fan 170C, gas mark 4 and cook for 2 and a half hours. Then remove the foil and raise the heat to 190C, fan 175C, gas 5. Baste the turkey by spooning the juices in the roasting tin over the breast and legs, and cook for another 30 minutes, basting it 2-3 times during this period.
  12. Test for doneness by pushing a metal skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. When removed the juices should bubble through clear. If at all pink give the turkey another 10-15 minutes cooking time before testing again. Cover the breast loosely with foil if it is browning too much.
  13. While the turkey is cooking roll the remainder of the stuffing into balls. It will make about 15. Roll each one into a slice of the pancetta.
  14. When the turkey is done, remove to a warmed serving plate. Tent the turkey with 2 layers of foil to keep it warm and cover the lot with a tea towel. Leave to rest for 45 - 60 minutes and this will keep it warm and juicy as long as you don't put it in a cold place.
  15. Turn the oven up to 220C, fan 200C, gas mark 7 to cook the stuffing balls. This is also the perfect temperature with which to cook roast potatoes in goose fat. Place stuffing balls on the lower rack for 20 - 25 minutes and potatoes on the top.
  16. Gravy To make the gravy pour at least 4 tablespoons of the turkey fat from the roasting tray (I find I just use it all) into a medium saucepan. To get the fat seperate from the dark juices, pour into a glass jug first and use a tablespoon to skim the top for the fat.
  17. Heat the saucepan to medium and when the fat starts to sizzle stir in 3 tablespoons of plain flour and cook for a minute or so. Gradually stir in 570ml of the stock (1 pint), followed by the wine. (I use a whisk at this point). Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring gently every now and then.
  18. In the roasting tin pour back in all of the dark juices from the glass jug and discard the herbs but not the onion. Put the roasting tin on the direct heat of the hob and pour in the gravy as it starts to sizzle, stirring all the time. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes to incorporate all the juices and the cooked onion. Strain this gravy back into the saucepan pressing hard on the seive to extract the onion, then add the Madiera wine, the redcurrant jelly and cook gently for another 5-10 minutes on low simmer. Add more stock at this point to make the gravy as thick or as thin as you like. After this, stir in the soy sauce, the lemon juice and any more resting juices that have come from the turkey during the time it has been resting on a serving plate. Taste and season your gravy as you think, then pour into a gravy boat. Present the turkey with the gravy, stuffing balls and other accompaniments. Carve to serve.

Cooking The Perfect Turkey

Never fear! Cooking the perfect roast turkey is within your grasp.
Never fear! Cooking the perfect roast turkey is within your grasp. | Source

Perfect Roast Turkey

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: Per serving
Calories 724
Calories from Fat405
% Daily Value *
Fat 45 g69%
Saturated fat 19 g95%
Carbohydrates 29 g10%
Sugar 1 g
Fiber 3 g12%
Protein 44 g88%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

© 2012 Lisa McKnight


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