Roast turkey with beer, sage and pork stuffing

Allegra McEvedy uses a selection of beers to boost the flavour of her stuffing, cabbage and gravy
By Allegra McEvedy
Roast turkey with beer, sage and pork stuffing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: easy


For the turkey

  • 5 kg turkey, preferably free-range bronze turkey, neck and giblets reserved
  • 250 g crustless white bread
  • 350 g minced pork
  • 20 g sage
  • 4 tbsp goose fat, plus extra for rubbing
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 apples, cored and roughly chopped
  • 250 ml oak-aged beer, such as Innis & Gunn
  • cranberry sauce, to serve

For the potatoes

  • 2.5 kg large roasting potatoes
  • 8 tbsp goose fat
  • ½ tbsp sea salt
  • 4 sprigs rosemary

For the red cabbage

  • 3 tbsp nut oil, such as hazelnut, walnut, brazil nut or peanut oil
  • 1.5 kg red cabbage, sliced 1cm thick
  • 2 oranges, finely grated zest only
  • 2½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 x 355 ml bottles citrus-flavoured beer, such as Blue Moon
  • 60 g sultanas
  • 50 g walnut halves
  • 120 ml cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 70 g soft brown sugar

For the gravy

  • 500 ml wheat beer, such as Grolsch Weizen
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 handfuls thyme
  • 1 small handful plain flour
  • balsamic vinegar, to taste

Tips and Suggestions

Allegra likes to serve gravy in a teapot as it makes for a neater pour, and you can keep it warm with a tea cosy.


1. For the turkey: set the oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8 and, as the oven is coming up to speed, put the bread chunks on a baking tray with the goose fat and some seasoning, and place in the oven for 10 minutes or until turning golden and crisp.

2. Meanwhile, pick the sage leaves, putting their stalks aside in a bowl with the turkey giblets and roughly chopping the leaves. In a separate bowl, mix the sage leaves, mince, onion, apple and some seasoning.

3. Take the bread from the oven, roll it in the goose fat that's in the tray and add to the stuffing mixture. Pour in the beer and give the whole lot a good squish with your hands to really mix it up.

4. Stuff the bird and secure the opening with a couple of skewers. Rub the turkey all over with goose fat, season generously, then lay it breast-side down in a roasting tin and loosely drape a piece of foil over it.

5. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and cook it for a further 2 hours 10 minutes, basting occasionally. Meanwhile, start the potatoes (see below).

6. Carefully take the turkey from the oven, set the foil aside to use later, then turn the bird over and keep roasting for a final 20 minutes. (If you have the neck, put this in the roasting tray now too.)

7. For the potatoes: start the potatoes when the turkey first goes into the oven. Peel and cut the spuds into roastie-sized pieces. Put them in a saucepan with cold water to cover, add a hefty grab of salt, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. If you have a second oven, preheat it to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, and if not dont worry.

8. When the potatoes have come to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

9. Tip the spuds back into the saucepan, put the lid back on and, holding it with a tea towel, shake vigorously for 1 minute. When you take the lid off, you should see that the edges of the spuds are all fluffed, while the spuds themselves are still pretty raw (the key to a good roastie is that 90% of the cooking happens in the oven).

10. Put a decent roasting tray on the hob over a medium heat and melt the goose fat in it. Arrange the spuds so they are closely packed but not touching. Season with sea salt and pepper, then strip the rosemary branches and scatter the leaves over, putting the stalks in the bowl with the giblets.

11. Once you see the edges of the spuds beginning to brown, put the tray in the oven (without touching the potatoes). If its going in the same oven as the turkey, put the spuds above it and turn the temperature up to 200C/180C fan/gas 8. From there your roasties will take 1½-1¾ hours to cook. Do not turn them too often: about three times is sufficient.

12. For the cabbage: start the cabbage once you've put the potatoes in the oven. Heat the nut oil in a wide pan over a high heat. Fry the coriander seeds for about 2 minutes, until you see them begin to fizzle, then add the cabbage strips and stir well.

13. After a couple more minutes, when its beginning to smell like a stir-fry, pour in the vinegar and, as it reduces, add the sultanas, brown sugar and some seasoning. Scrunch the walnut pieces in your hands to break them up and drop them in too. When the vinegar has almost evaporated, pour in the citrus-flavoured beer, season well and bring to a simmer.

14. Once the beer is bubbling, turn the heat right down to low and cover. Stir the cabbage from time to time, and when your spuds are ready, if theres still any liquid in the cabbage, take the lid off and turn the heat up so that it bubbles away.

15. Once the cabbage is looking and tasting about right, season again, turn the heat off and stir in the orange zest.

16. Warm a serving dish for the turkey. When the bird is cooked, rest it the right way up on the dish and tuck the reserved piece of foil over and around it.

17. Check youre happy with your spuds if the colour looks right then you can hold them in an oven at around 140C/120C fan/gas 1. With the cabbage, once youve stirred the zest in, just put a lid on and turn the heat off altogether.

18. For the gravy: tip all the juices and fat from the roasting tray into a jug and put the roasting tray (with the turkey neck, if you had it) on the hob over a medium heat. Ladle about 100ml of the fat from the jug back into the roasting tray and fry the chopped veg, giblets and neck for a few minutes, until they start to colour and catch on the bottom of the tin.

19. Add the flour and quickly stir to coat the veg and giblets. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the beer. As it froths up, add the thyme, plus the rosemary and sage stalks you saved earlier (no seasoning at this stage please).

20. Ladle off the rest of the fat in the jug (you can save it in the fridge in a jam jar for the next time you make roasties), and pour the meat juices into the tray of gravy. Give it all a good whisk and leave to bubble down to a gravy consistency that appeals to you (this could take anything from a couple of minute to 8 or so).

21. Turn off the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Strain the gravy into a bowl, and adjust the seasoning (it shouldnt need any more salt).

22. Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing, roast potatoes, cabbage and some cranberry sauce.

Recipe from Bitter Sweet Partnership

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