Sage butter roast turkey

Enjoy this classic festive dish with a flavoursome home-made gravy and all the trimmings
By Paul Heathcote
Sage butter roast turkey
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 30 mins resting
  • Effort: easy



  • 1 x 2.5kg oven-ready turkey, legs, thigh bones and undercarriage chopped off and reserved for stock
  • 100 g butter
  • 4 sprigs of sage, finely chopped
  • black pepper

For the turkey gravy:

  • turkey bones
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 10 cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2-3 tsp arrowroot, mixed to a paste with a little cold water


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

2. Mix together the butter and sage and season well with salt and pepper.

3. Loosen the skin from the breast by gently working your fingers over the meat and under the skin to make a pocket, repeat on the other side.

4. Using your fingers stuff the butter and sage mixture evenly under both breasts.

5. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting tray and roast for 2 hours 15 minutes until cooked through. Allow the turkey to rest, while keeping warm, for 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, cook the turkey gravy. Chop up the turkey bones as small as possible.

7. Place the chopped bones in a roasting tray and roast, alongside the turkey, for 20-30 minutes, until the bones are golden brown but not darkened.

8. Heat the oil in a large, thick-based saucepan. Add the onion, celery, garlic and carrot and fry stirring for 5 minutes.

9. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf and white wine and cook briskly until reduced by half.

10. Add the tomatoes and the browned bones and pour in enough water to cover the bones.

11. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, skimming off the fat and adding in more water if required to keep the bones covered.

12. Strain the stock into a clean saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix in the arrowroot paste a little at a time until the desired consistency of gravy is reached.

13. Serve the roast turkey with the gravy.

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