Saffron turkey with cranberry stuffing

A saffron roasted turkey makes a great centrepiece for Christmas dinner
Saffron turkey with cranberry stuffing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 10
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: hard


For the stuffing

  • 50 g wild and long grain rice
  • 6 good quality sausages, skinned
  • 100 g cooked chestnuts, crumbled
  • 4 tbsp dried cranberries, preferably Ocean Spray Craisins
  • 1 small orange, finely grated rind
  • 50 g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 large fresh sage leaves, shredded

For the turkey

  • 4.5 kg turkey, thawed if frozen and giblets removed
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 pinches saffron strands
  • 12 rashers smoked pancetta

Tips and Suggestions

Use the pan juices to make a rich golden gravy. Simply pour white wine into the pan juices and boil off the alcohol, then thicken with a paste of flour and butter mashed together. Add a spring of fresh rosemary and the juice of an orange for extra flavour


1. For the stuffing: Cook the rice according to the packet instructions, then drain, rinse under cold running water, drain and place in a large mixing bowl with the sausage meat, chestnuts, dried cranberries, orange rind and breadcrumbs.

2. Melt the butter in a small pan and sauté the onion and sage for 7-8 minutes over a low heat until softened but not coloured. Tip into the stuffing mixture and mix to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. For the turkey: Push the stuffing into the neck end of the bird pushing it well up between the two breasts and place in a large roasting tin. Push the quartered orange and rosemary into the cavity of the bird and using string, tie the legs together to give the turkey a good shape.

4. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time at 18 minutes per 450g. It should work out to approximately 3 hours 30 minutes depending on the size of the bird.

5. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the saffron, remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the butter turns a rich yellow/orange colour. Brush the butter over the turkey and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Arrange the pancetta over the turkey breast in a lattice pattern. Cover loosely with foil and roast for the calculated time, checking and basting with any meat juices every 45 minutes.

7. Check to see if the turkey is cooked by pushing a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, cover the turkey and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving. If the juices are pink, return to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes before testing again in the same way.

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