Tag Archives: How to cook the perfect roast turkey

Favourite Christmas Recipes

How to make the perfect traditional turkey roast for Christmas


Favourite Christmas Recipes

As you can imagine, I have tested and tasted a fair few recipes over the past fifteen (is it really that long?) years.

There have been many scrummy delights but, of course, like all our Dairy Diary aficionados I have my firm favourites, particularly for Christmas lunch.

This is my definitive selection
of recipes, which I think make
the perfect Christmas dinner.

  • Traditional Turkey Roast (Around Britain cookbook)
  • Treacle-Glazed Red Cabbage (Dairy Diary recipe)
  • Roast Potatoes (Dairy Book of Home Cookery)

I also like to serve steamed green vegetables, creamy mash and Yorkshire puddings. Not traditional I know but we all love them!

Have a delicious Christmas lunch everyone. Here are the three recipes…

Traditional Turkey Roast

Preparation time – 2 hours
Cooking time – 2 hours
Calories per portion – 1100 Kcal
Fat per portion – 50g of which saturated – 19.2g
Serves – 8 Suitable for freezing

Bronze turkey 6kg (12lb) oven-ready bird
Butter 25g (1 oz) softened

For the stock
Giblets from turkey, well washed
Onion 1 large, peeled and quartered
Carrot 1 large, peeled and sliced
Parsley 1 large sprig
Bay leaves 3
Rosemary 1 large sprig
Black peppercorns 1 tsp
Chicken stock or water 900ml (11⁄2 pints)

For the stuffing
Frozen peeled chestnuts 225g (8oz)
Chicken stock 300ml (1⁄2 pint)
Butter 50g (2oz)
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Smoked rindless streaky bacon rashers 225g (8oz), cut into thin strips widthways
Onion 1 large, peeled and finely chopped
Lean, good quality pork sausages 400g (14oz), skinned
Chopped parsley 4 tbsp
White breadcrumbs 110g (4oz)
Mixed dried herbs 1 tbsp
Lemon 1, finely grated rind only Egg 1 large, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cranberry sauce
Cranberries 250g (9oz), washed, any stalks removed
Orange 1 large, finely pared rind and strained juice
Caster sugar 175g (6oz)
Mixed ground spice 1⁄2–1 tsp

For the gravy
Roasting juices from turkey see method
White or red wine 2–3 tbsp, optional
Plain flour 2–3 tbsp
Chicken stock 500ml (1 pint)

1 On Christmas Eve, prepare the stock. Place all the giblets except the liver in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and skim off the scum that has risen to the surface. Add all the remaining ingredients, cover and cook gently for 11⁄2 hours. Strain through a sieve, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.

2 To make the stuffing, place the chestnuts in a saucepan, add the stock, partially cover and cook gently for 25 minutes, or until softened and most of the stock has been absorbed. Pour the nuts into a sieve placed over a bowl to drain, and leave until cold.

3 Meanwhile, chop the turkey liver and put into a large bowl. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan, add the bacon and cook until browned and crispy. Add to the turkey liver.

4 Add the onion to the fat and cook gently until softened, then add to the liver and bacon and cool. Add the chestnuts and all the remaining ingredients, season well and mix together.

5 To make cranberry sauce, place all the ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan, partially cover and cook gently until the cranberries are softened and the juices are reduced by half. Transfer to a serving bowl, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.

6 To prepare the turkey, wipe the inside clean with kitchen paper. Stuff the neck end only with the stuffing, but not too tightly. Make any excess stuffing into balls and cook separately.

7 Smooth the neck skin evenly over the stuffing and secure with fine skewers. Smear the turkey all over with the softened butter. Put onto a large plate, loosely cover with foil and refrigerate.

8 On Christmas Day, remove the turkey from the refrigerator early in the morning to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Place a roasting trivet or wire rack in the roasting tin and put the prepared turkey on top.

9 Cooking times for turkeys will vary according to their size, and also their type. Generally, cook for 40 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and continue cooking for 11⁄2–2 hours, basting frequently until cooked. To test it’s done, pierce the thigh at the thickest part – the juices should run clear yellow.

10 Carefully remove it from the roasting tin onto a serving plate, loosely cover with foil and leave to stand. Cook the stuffing balls while preparing the gravy and attending to the vegetables.

11 To make gravy, skim the fat from the roasting juices into a bowl, strain through a sieve and set aside. Pour the wine into the roasting tin, and bring to the boil, scraping the browned residue from the pan’s bottom. Then strain into the bowl of juices.

12 Pour 3–4 tbsp of the turkey fat into a saucepan and stir in the flour. Add the stock and strained juices and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and allow to boil gently for 3–4 minutes, until reduced. Pour into a gravy boat for serving. Garnish the turkey with sprigs of rosemary and serve.

Cook’s tip
Grilled chipolata sausages and bacon rolls are a delicious and traditional accompaniment for a roast turkey. Cook with the stuffing balls: 35–45 minutes.


Treacle-Glazed Red Cabbage

Red cabbage 700g (1lb 9oz), cored and finely shredded
Red wine vinegar 4 tbsp
Demerara sugar 6 tbsp
Butter 25g (1oz)
Black treacle 1 tbsp

1 Put the cabbage, vinegar, sugar and 1 tsp salt into a non-aluminium saucepan. Add 225ml (8fl oz) water, cover and cook gently for an hour or until tender.

2 Drain the cabbage and then mix with the butter and treacle and serve.

Roast Potatoes

Serves 4
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 55 mins
Per portion 194 kcals, 8g fat (2.5g saturated)

680g (1½lb) potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp goose fat

1 Cut potatoes into quarters or leave whole if new.

2 Cook in boiling water for 5–7 minutes. Drain. Shake in saucepan to roughen surface.

3 Heat goose fat in a roasting tin. Add potatoes and turn in tin until well coated.

4 Roast at 200°C (400°F) Mark 6 for 45 minutes or until crisp and golden, basting at least twice during that time.

Have a very merry Christmas.





2013 diaries | How to cook the perfect Traditional Turkey Roast

The perfect Traditional Roast Turkey recipe

The perfect Traditional Roast Turkey recipe

How to cook the perfect Traditional Turkey Roast this Christmas

It can seem a daunting task, but with a little planning and organisation the perfect traditional Christmas dinner is easily achievable.

And to make things simple for you we have gathered together our favourite festive recipes and published them online as the Dairy Diary Favourite Festive Recipes.

Included in the collection is the Traditional Turkey Roast recipe which will guide you through the whole process of preparing and cooking:

  • The perfect roast turkey
  • Chestnut stuffing
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Turkey gravy

Dairy Diary Favourite Festive Recipes is formatted for mobile devices as well as your PC. So you can easily read the ingredients list when shopping and use the recipe on your phone or tablet in the kitchen – or you can print the recipe if you prefer.

In addition to the Traditional Roast Turkey you will find an inspirational choice of recipes for the whole festive break including starters, main courses, puddings, party food and drinks.

And it’s FREE, so why not check it out now?

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