Selected shop: Please select
Telephone: 01752 893030
Perfect and easy roast turkey

Perfect and easy roast turkey

The Christmas week is now upon us, so we thought now would be a good time to share our Gribble's recipe to ensure your Christmas roast turkey is as succulent and tasty as possible, with some classic trimmings.


Preparing the turkey
First, remove the turkey from the fridge - it needs about half an hour to bring it up to room temperature. This will ensure that the joint requires the optimum amount of cooking time, and also reduces the risk of the meat being tough (the change in temperature as it goes in the oven can be a shock to the meat if it goes in from chilled, causing it to contract).

Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Remove packaging and place the turkey in a roasting tray that is a little larger than the joint to allow room for the stuffing balls. Put to one side to come up to room temperature.

You need to cook your turkey for an hour per kilogram, but remember to factor in 20 minutes resting time to allow the meat to settle and the juices to be absorbed, ensuring it is succulent and tender.  

The stuffing
Now prepare your stuffing. Gently fry the onions in a little olive or vegetable oil until soft but not browned, then add the apricots. Stir well for a couple of minutes until the apricots are softening, and then add the honey and mustard. Stir in the pan over a gentle heat for another couple of minutes until everything is well coated, then add the sage and stir well. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, squeeze out half of the sausage meat and loosen with a fork. Put the onion mixture into the bowl and mix well, then add the other half of the sausage meat and mix will again. Get a plate ready for the balls, then wash your hands. With your hands still damp, take out little mixtures of the stuffing and roll into roughly 5cm balls, placing them on the plate as you finish. You will get about 20 balls out of this mixture, so keep rolling until it is all used up. Keep your hands damp with cold water to stop the mixture sticking to your hands. When all the mixture has been used up, cover the balls with cling film and put to one side.

Turkey in!
This should have taken around half an hour, so it’s time for your turkey to go in the oven. Put in the top shelf of the oven at 200ºc and set your timer for 20 minutes.

Basting, testing and balls
Take the butter and pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds to melt. After the initial 20 minutes, the bacon on your turkey should be nicely started so remove the turkey from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 180ºc. Baste the turkey all over with the butter using a pastry or silicon brush, and return to the oven but this time place lower in the oven, towards the bottom. Set your timer for another 20 minutes. When the buzzer goes off, baste with the remainder of the butter and add the stuffing balls around the joint. Set the timer for another 20 minutes, then remove the turkey from the oven and assess and turn the stuffing balls - they will require another 20-30 minutes, depending on the strength of your oven.

If you are unsure whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer or a sharp knife into the deepest part of the meat, then press the implement onto the flesh to release some juices. If they come out clear, your meat is cooked and can rest - if not, return to the oven, baste again, and check with the skewer (making a fresh hole) in another 15-20 minutes.

The cranberry sauce
Now make your cranberry sauce. Wash your cranberries in a colander, then rinse the clementines and lime. Remove any squidgy cranberries (there are always a few!) from the colander, then put them into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, port/water, citrus juice and zest, and stir. Turn on the heat to high, and bring the pan to the boil, stirring occasionally (but watch it as it will bubble up as it comes up to temperature!). Once boiling, stir thoroughly, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes until the cranberries have broken down.  

Note: This sauce gets better with age, so it’s a nice idea to make it in advance of the big day for the flavours to improve…and to give you space on the hob! Simply put it in a Kilner (or other) jar, put a layer of greaseproof paper on top and refrigerate up to two weeks before. Remember to gently warm it through before serving though!

The final cooking and resting
When cooked, remove to a carving board and allow to rest for 20 minutes while the stuffing finishes cooking (it is nice to pop the serving plate into the oven to warm through at this stage). Return to your cranberry sauce and, using a fork, break down any stubborn cranberries that are still hole. Stir and taste, adding more sugar if needed. Put into a dish for the table, and now remove your stuffing balls from the oven.

Carve your turkey using a sharp knife and carving fork, placing the cut meat onto the warmed plate. Serve with the cranberry sauce and stuffing balls, and the usual trimmings!

(Bear in mind that your roast potatoes and parsnips will take longer than it takes to cook the turkey, so you need to have these in full swing by the time you follow this recipe!)

Check back later this week to read our sprouts recipe - guaranteed to be liked by every sprout cynic!


For the turkey 1x turkey breast (c. 1kg), covered with streaky bacon (ask your butcher to do this for you when they tie the joint) 25g butter (for basting) For the stuffing 500g sausage meat Handful of dried apricots (approximately 20), roughly chopped 1 large onion (or two small), diced 2 tsps chopped fresh sage (or 1 tsp dried) 1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard 1 tsp runny honey For the cranberry sauce 200g pack of fresh cranberries 75g caster sugar (preferable golden but white will do) Zest of 1 lime Zest and juice of 2 large satsumas or clementines (or 3 small) 200ml ruby port (or 100ml port + 100ml water, or 200ml water if you prefer without port)