Christmas turkey with stuffing and gravy

Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 210 mins
Christmas turkey with stuffing and gravy
This is a traditional Christmas recipe of roast turkey with gravy and simple stuffing.

1 turkey, 6.3 kg

175g softened butter

225g streaky bacon

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the pork, sage and onion stuffing:

900g good-quality pork sausage meat or finely minced pure pork

1 heaped tsp dried sage

1 large onion, grated or very finely chopped

4 heaped tbsp white breadcrumbs

For the gravy

1 onion or large shallot, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

125ml dry white wine

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

500ml chicken stock

200ml double cream

Pan juices from roasting


Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas mark 7.

Prepare a large roasting tin with by tearing a large sheet of kitchen foil with long overhangs (you will need this later to wrap the bird).

In a bowl, mix the herbs and butter together to form a paste and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs with the onion and sage then stir in a little boiling water and mix thoroughly.

Next work in the sausage meat or minced pork into this mixture and season with salt and pepper. 

Leave the stuffing covered in a cool place though not in the fridge.

Stuff the turkey. 

Loosen the skin with your hands and pack the stuffing into the neck end, pushing it up between the flesh and the skin towards the breast (though not too tightly)

Press it in gently to make a rounded end, then tuck the neck flap under the bird's back.

Not all of the stuffing will fit, so stuff the rest inside the cavity of the bird.

Lay the turkey on its back in the centre, then rub it generously all over with the herby butter, making sure the thighs are generously coated.

Season the bird all over with salt and pepper, and lay the bacon over the breast overlapping each other. Wrap some rashers around the legs as well.

Wrap the turkey with the foil firmly into a pleat then fold over again but not touching the bird. This will allow air to circulate during cooking but not let steam escape.

Place the roasting tin on a low shelf in the oven and cook for 40 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 160°C / 325°F / Gas mark 3 and cook for a further 3 ½ hours.

Then tear the foil away from the top and sides of the bird and remove the bacon slices to allow the skin to brown and crisp.

Place the bacon rashers back in with the bird though tucked away from it so they can crisp up while the turkey is still cooking.

Turn the heat up to 200°C / 400°F / Gas mark 6 and cook the turkey for a further 30 minutes. 

Making sure to baste during this time.

To test if the bird is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the leg with a thin skewer: the juices running out of it should be golden and clear.

Then remove it from the roasting tin carefully and remember cooking juices are messy so take care during this process.

Leave the turkey in a warm place for 30-60 minutes to rest before carving.

For the gravy, cook the onion in the olive oil for about five minutes.

Pour in the wine, add the thyme and

bay leaf and boil until reduced by half.

Add the stock and boil until reduced by half then add the cream and boil for further five minutes.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Remove from the heat, cool for ten minutes and strain into the serving container to be used.

Heat the turkey pan juices to a boil for two minutes, season with salt and strain into the gravy container.


Preparation Time
40 minutes

Cooking Time
210 minutes

Main ingredients
Dairy, Alcohol, Turkey, Vegetables, Bread, Spice, Stock/Broth

Recipe Type
Entertaining, Family Dinners

Level of Difficulty


Other recipes you may like