Christmas dinner recipes: turkey with two stuffings

Date:06-12-2013 08:58:28 read:1

Christmas dinner recipes: turkey with two stuffings

With Christmas Day fast approaching, allow Rose Prince to guide you through cooking a tasty, tender turkey with not one but two stuffings. Plus, recipes for gravy and sauces

Perfect: Rose Prince's turkey Photo: Laura Hynd

Serves 8-10, with a 6kg turkey

Buttery, seasoned crumbs under the skin keep the breast meat juicy and add earthy flavour, while the neck of the turkey hides a trove of prunes stuffed with chestnuts, chunks of apple and chipolatas. This recipe gives quantities and timings for a 6kg turkey. Cooking times for other sizes are: two hours for 4kg; three hours and 15 minutes for 9kg; three hours and 45 minutes for 11kg. Change the quantities for the stuffings accordingly. To keep work on Christmas Day to a minimum, prepare both stuffings the previous day, allow them to cool, then stuff and truss the turkey so it is oven-ready.

Serve with bread sauce, cranberry, orange and port sauce and crispy breadcrumbs.

Stuffing 1 – buttered watercress, allspice and sourdough, for under the skin

100g cooked, peeled chestnuts

30g duck fat or 30ml extra-virgin

Olive oil

250g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground allspice

4 tbsp butter, melted

the leaves from 2 bunches of watercress, finely chopped

Stuffing 2 – chestnut, prune, bacon and sausage, for the neck cavity

10 cooked, peeled chestnuts, halved

20 soft prunes, pitted

10 thinly sliced rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cut in half

30 cocktail sausages

2 apples, cored and sliced

20 pickled silverskin onions

1 heaped tbsp honey

The leaves from 1 celery heart, chopped

To season the main cavity

1 bunch of rosemary

1 bunch of thyme

1 bunch of sage

2 strips pared lemon zest

1 onion, halved

2 tbsp butter

To roast the turkey

4 tbsp butter or duck fat, melted

To make the first stuffing, preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4, place the chestnuts in a roasting pan and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop finely, in a food processor or by hand. Heat the fat or oil in a pan and fry the breadcrumbs until crisp. Add the nutmeg, allspice, melted butter, chestnuts and watercress. Season to taste, then cool the stuffing in the fridge.

Turn the turkey so the main cavity is facing towards you and use your fingers to make a space between the breast skin and the meat. Gradually and gently, so as not to puncture it, part the skin from the whole surface of the breast meat on one side, working towards the legs. Repeat on the other side. Use a spoon to push handfuls of the first stuffing under the skin, pushing it to the back of the cavity you have made. Do this on both sides with even amounts. Smooth the surface of the skin and use a clean cloth to wipe away any crumbs stuck to the surface of the bird.

To make the second stuffing, push a half chestnut into each prune and wrap in half a rasher of bacon. Heat a pan and brown the bacon/prune/chestnut rolls lightly. Remove from the pan, leaving behind any rendered fat. Brown the chipolatas in the fat, then add the apples. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sauté the onions in a little butter then add the honey. Continue to cook until the onions are caramelised. Combine all the ingredients and chill them in the fridge. Stuff them into the neck cavity on the underside of the bird, pulling the flap of skin over the stuffing and securing it with a skewer.

Tie all the herbs and the lemon zest together and place inside the turkey’s main cavity with the onion and butter. Truss the turkey legs close together with string and tie a tight knot.

Brush the whole turkey with melted butter or duck fat. Put the remaining fat in the base of the pan. Cover the neck cavity and the feet ends of the turkey drumsticks with a layer of foil to prevent burning.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and roast the turkey, basting it with fat from the pan two to three times during cooking. Ovens vary – place a strip of foil lightly over the surface of the turkey if you feel the breast skin is too becoming too dark.

When the cooking time is over, test the turkey to see if it is done. Insert a long skewer in to the deepest part of the thigh, through into the breast meat. Remove the skewer. Push a tablespoon against the skin at the point of the skewer’s entry and allow the juices to flow into it. If the juices are clear, the meat is done; if they are pink, return the turkey to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes before testing again. When the meat is done, lift the turkey from the roasting pan (in which the gravy is to be made) and place on a platter. Cover the turkey with two layers of wide foil and leave to rest for up to an hour.

To carve, cut slices of the white meat from the breast vertically, cutting across the grain. Remove the legs one at a time and carve the brown meat from them. Serve each person brown and white meat, plus stuffing from the neck cavity.



I like my gravy clear and thin, but you can add flour if you want a coating gravy. Pass it through a sieve after cooking to remove any lumps. The giblet stock can be made the previous day.

For the giblet stock

15g butter

Turkey giblets

1 onion, chopped roughly

1 celery stick, chopped

1 carrot, sliced

A sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 litre of water

For the gravy

100ml Marsala

60ml dry white wine

1 heaped tbsp flour mixed to a paste with 30g butter or turkey fat (optional)

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the turkey giblets. Brown them lightly, then add the vegetables with the herbs. Cover with the water and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain through a sieve, retaining the liquid. Season this liquid with salt to taste and set aside or store in the fridge.

After roasting the turkey and removing the bird from the roasting pan, tip out as much fat as you can, leaving behind the roasting juices and caramelised bits. Place the pan over a medium heat and let it sizzle. Pour in the Marsala and wine, then scrape at the bottom of the pan to mix the cooking juices and bits into the liquor. Add half the giblet stock and bring to the boil. If you are using a flour roux, sprinkle it on to the surface of the bubbling pan – but do not stir it until the contents of the pan have boiled for about a minute. Briskly whisk the gravy until it thickens. Add the remaining stock and allow to bubble for 30 seconds, then taste and season the gravy. If you are not using the flour roux, simply add all the stock at once then bring to the boil.

Classic bread sauce recipe

Prepare the infused milk the day before and store it in the fridge.

1 onion

8 cloves

4 peppercorns

A few gratings of nutmeg

¾ litre of whole milk

About 300g fresh white breadcrumbs

3 tbsp butter

150ml cream

Stud the onion with the cloves. Place in a pan with the spices and milk and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave the milk to absorb the flavours for a minimum of 30 minutes, then strain the liquid through a sieve and return it to the pan or store it in the fridge until needed.

Fifteen minutes before serving, reheat the milk. Add enough breadcrumbs with the butter and cream to make a wet sauce. Add salt to taste and serve hot.

If the sauce thickens while it waits, add a little fresh milk to loosen it.

Cranberry, orange and port sauce recipe


This sauce can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge.

4 tbsp fine-cut orange marmalade

100ml port

250g fresh cranberries

Put the marmalade in a pan with the port and bring to the boil. Simmer and stir until the marmalade melts. Add the cranberries, cook until they soften, then remove from the heat. Store in an airtight container. Serve cold with the turkey.

Crisp seasoned breadcrumbs recipe


You can serve these as an extra to soak up the gravy, and also scattered over the turkey. Make in advance and warm before serving.

85g butter, melted

200g fresh breadcrumbs from

A sourdough or ciabatta loaf

½ tsp ground allspice

The zest of 1 lemon

Put all the ingredients in a frying pan and cook over a low heat until golden, fragrant and crisp. Store in an airtight container until needed. Warm in a pan or oven before serving.


Perfect vegetable side dishes

Damson and claret jellies with cinnamon cream recipe

How to make a Christmas cheescake, step by step

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