Festive roast turkey

Calories: 726  Preparation: 20 mins  Cooking: 3 hrs  Serves: 6


  • 1 (4kg) oven ready turkey, giblets removed

  • 100g watercress

  • 1 onion, halved

  • 1 lemon, halved

  • 75g soft butter       

For the stuffing:

  • 100g watercress, chopped

  • 50g butter

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 stick celery, finely chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 50g blanched toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

  • Zest and juice 1 large orange

  • 200g fresh white breadcrumbs

  • 10ml dried thyme

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy:

  • 100ml sherry or dry white wine

  • 500ml chicken stock

  • 30ml cornflour

Turkeys vary in weight but you need to allow 20mins per 500g weight, plus 20 mins.

One serving portion is calculated at 200g of Turkey per person.  



Make the stuffing, melt the butter in a medium pan add the onion and celery and cook over a medium heat until soft and pale golden. Add the garlic and watercress, cook for a further 2 mins until the watercress is wilted.

Remove from the heat and tip into a large bowl, add the hazelnuts, orange zest and juice, breadcrumbs, thyme and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a little salt to taste. Mix well. Leave until cold.

Preheat the oven to 190oC/Fan 170oC Gas Mark 5. Wash the turkey inside and out and dry with kitchen paper. Place the onion and lemon inside the cavity of the bird. Spoon the stuffing into the neck flap of the turkey, packing it in tightly, then secure the flap with cocktail sticks, or sew together.

Line a large roasting tray with two pieces of wide foil laid like a cross. Place the turkey in the centre of the foil and rub the breast and legs with the soft butter. Season with salt and pepper. Pull the foil up and around the turkey to ‘tent’ the bird, sealing it at the edges. Place in the centre of the hot oven and roast for 3hrs.

Half way through the cooking time, remove the bird from the oven, loosen the foil and spoon the cooking juices over the bird to baste, reseal the foil and continue to roast.

Forty minutes before the end of cooking. Remove from the oven, fold back the foil, baste the bird with the juices again then, roast uncovered until the turkey is a lovely golden brown. Remove the bird from the oven, transfer to a board, cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 mins – this makes carving easier.

To make the gravy, pour the hot stock into the roasting tin and use a wooden spoon to scrape away all the cooking juices that have collected on the foil and in the tin. Then pour the liquid through a sieve into a medium pan. Place on the hob, add the sherry or wine and bring to the boil and simmer to reduce for 10 mins. Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with a little cold water, then add to the gravy stirring until the gravy boils and thickens. Transfer to a warm gravy boat and keep warm.

To present the turkey for the table, take a large warm serving platter, scatter the watercress all over the plate. Lift the turkey from the board and arrange in the centre of the leaves. The leaves will wilt and soak up the juices from the bird as it is carved. Serve the turkey and stuffing in slices with a good portion of the wilted watercress. Serve with all your favourite seasonal vegetables.

Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 15.7g Carbohydrate: 34.6g Protein: 63.4g Fibre: 2.6g Salt: 1.87g

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