Christmas turkey and all the trimmings

Roast turkey, sage stuffing, bread sauce, roast potatoes, gravy, pigs in blanket and all the veg follow Mark Sargeants recipe for the perfect festive dinner
By Mark Sargeant
Christmas turkey and all the trimmings
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the turkey

  • 4-5 kg turkey
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed
  • handful sprigs of thyme, or rosemary or sage if you prefer
  • 200 g butter, softened

For the stuffing

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • handful fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 g pork sausage meat
  • 1 egg
  • handful breadcrumbs, or enough to bind it together

For the bread sauce

  • 1 whole onion, peeled
  • 4 cloves, studded into the onion
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litres milk
  • 1 loaf of white bread, whizzed into fine breadcrumbs
  • 25 g butter, softened

For the potatoes

  • 1.8 kg potatoes, preferably Maris Piper
  • duck fat, to line roasting tray and cover potatoes

For the pigs in blankets/devils on horseback:

  • 8 chipolatas sausages
  • 8 prunes
  • 16 rashers streaky bacon

For the carrots and parsnips

  • 1 kg whole carrots
  • 1 kg whole parsnips
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

For the sprouts

  • 900 g sprouts
  • 50 g butter
  • flaked almonds, toasted

For the gravy

  • Turkey juice, set aside after cooking the turkey
  • splash of white wine


1. For the turkey: Preheat the oven to its highest heat, around 250C/220C fan/gas 9.

2. Stuff the turkey cavity with the oranges, lemons, garlic and thyme and tie the legs together with butchers string so it will hold its shape in the oven.

3. Use your hands to smear softened butter all over the skin. Season generously with salt as this will help crisp the skin, and add a good sprinkling of pepper.

4. Cook in the very hot oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp the skin then turn down to 170C/150C fan/gas 3.5 for around 2 hours, or until the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and put on a rack to rest. Save the juices for the gravy.

5. For the stuffing: Sauté the onions and sage in the olive oil, cool slightly then mix into sausage meat. Add the egg, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and stir together thoroughly.

6. Press the mixture into a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes in a medium oven. If dont want to cook the stuffing until later you can put it in the fridge to firm up.

7. For the bread sauce: Press the cloves into the onion and place in a saucepan. Add the bay leaves, a teaspoon of peppercorns and the thyme then the milk and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the sauce to remove any bits, add a small amount of the breadcrumbs and slowly add more as you cook for 15 minutes until you have a consistency like soft porridge. You may not need all the breadcrumbs. Finish by stirring in the butter.

8. For the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 then heat the roasting tray lined with duck fat in the oven.

9. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes all the way through in salted water for 10 minutes or so then carefully lift out of the water and leave to cool.

10. Put the potatoes in the roasting tray and coat the potatoes in the hot duck fat, add a sprinkling of salt and roast them in the oven until crispy for about 40-50 minutes. If you need to, you can leave them in the oven with the heat off once cooked.

11. For the pigs in blankets/devils on horseback: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Wrap the sausages and prunes in the bacon and roast for around 30 minutes until golden brown and the sausages are cooked through.

12. For the carrots and parsnips: Boil carrots and parsnips whole, the carrots will take around 10 minutes and the parsnips will need a bit longer, between 15-20 minutes in total. Drain and cool. Pan fry in butter and finish with honey and thyme.

13. For the sprouts: Blanch the sprouts in salted water, drain and cut in half then sauté with butter for 5-10 minutes until browned but they still have a bit of crunch. Finish with the toasted almond flakes.

14. For the gravy: Put the turkey baking tray with the juices still in it on the hob, bring it to the boil and scrape all the dried juice from the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Add a splash of white wine and return to the boil then strain through a sieve into a serving jug.

15. Place everything on the table at once, dig in and enjoy.

Rate This Recipe