Christmas Turkey with Cranberry & Herb Butter

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If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your turkey this year, look no further! This is THE most delicious butter, packed with Christmas goodness. Here is the recipe for my Christmas turkey.


5 kg turkey, self-basting and preferably free-range
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 red onion, sliced

For the butter:

250g unsalted butter, room temperature
70 g dried cranberries
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Small handful fresh sage
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing:

onions , peeled and chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground nutmeg
A few sprigs fresh sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
300 g streaky bacon, diced
1 large handfull breadcrumbs
1 tsp orange zest

Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking time 3.5 hours

Preheat your oven to 230°C.

Defrost your turkey the night before, then take it out the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to cook it so it comes up to room temperature before roasting. Give it a good rinse under cold water then pat it dry with some kitchen paper, making sure you soak up any water in the cavity. Drizzle the meat with olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and then rub the seasoning all over the turkey, making sure you get everywhere.

To make the butter:

Run the fresh herbs under boiling water and bruise them with your hands. Then finely chop the cranberries, rosemary, thyme and sage. Cut the room temperature butter into cubes and mix with the chopped ingredients (don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty). Cover in cling film and place in the fridge while you make the stuffing.


To make the stuffing:

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan on a medium heat and fry off your chopped onion for about 7 minutes or until softened. Then add the diced bacon and fry for 3-4 minutes, you don’t want it to be too crispy. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper, the ground nutmeg, orange zest and the chopped sage leaves, then continue to fry and stir for another minute. Spoon the onion mixture into a large bowl and let it cool completely.

Once you are ready to cook the turkey, using your fingers rub the butter under the skin of the breasts, be careful not to break the skin, if you have left over butter you can rub it under the bird.

To stuff the turkey:  Pull the skin at the neck-end back so you can see a cavity and push about your stuffing inside your turkey. Don’t pack it too tightly as this will slow down the cooking. If you have left over stuffing roll it into small balls and place in the oven tray with the turkey.


Place your roughly chopped veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan and lay your turkey on top. Cover the turkey with tin foil then put it in the hot oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180°C. Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes per kilogram.  This recipe will take about 3 to 3½ hours. 

When the time is up, take your turkey out of the oven and stick a small sharp knife into the fattest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear and the meat pulls apart easily, it’s ready. If not, pop the turkey back in the oven to cook for a bit longer then check again. Rest, while you are doing th other trimmings.


To make the gravy, place the  turkey tray on high heat, once the juices start boiling add a heaped tablespoon of flour and cook for 30 seconds. Then add 180ml boiling chicken stock and simmer for 1 minute, then season to taste. Add more stock if you prefer thinner gravy.


I served the turkey with glazed gammon, crispy roast potatoes, green beans and apple sauce. PS: I hope the gammon from Woolworths, follow the cooking instructions on the packaging- they are amazing.


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