Chef Gilligan's roast turkey with sage and onion stuffing

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1 large onion, finely chopped

1 lb pork sausage meat

2 level tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped

2 level tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 oz fresh white breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

1 14lb oven-ready turkey

4oz soft butter

8oz streaky bacon, thinly sliced

1 pint Chicken or Turkey stock

2 tbsp all purpose/plain flour

1 pint port

2 tbsp redcurrant jelly


Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare the stuffing: In a large bowl mix together the onion, pork sausage meat, herbs, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slip your fingers under the skin at the neck end and loosen to create a cavity over the breast. Stuff the neck end with the onion and sage stuffing up to the breast. Tuck the loose skin underneath and secure with a fine metal skewer.

Smear the soft butter evenly over the breast and legs of the turkey. Lay thin slices of bacon neatly across the breast and top surface of the legs. Sprinkle the whole turkey liberally with salt and pepper.

Lay two large sheets of aluminum foil over a roasting tin large enough to hold the bird. Place the bird back down and fold the foil loosely over the bird leaving a roomy gap between the bird and the foil to allow steam to escape.

Roast in the preheated oven for 40 minutes then lower the temperature to 325F and cook for 3 hours basting from time to time.

Remove the turkey from the oven; raise the temperature to 425F. Fold back the foil on the turkey, remove the bacon and pour any juices into a jug or bowl. Return the turkey to the oven and cook for a further 30 min. to crisp the skin.

Remove from the oven and check the temperature with a meat thermometer placed into the thickest past of the thigh, the turkey is cooked if the temperature is 175F. If you don't have a thermometer the turkey is cooked if the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a small sharp knife. If the juices are pink return to the oven and cook until they run clear.

When cooked, leave the turkey to rest for 30 min. wrapped loosely with fresh foil before carving.

Meanwhile make the gravy. Pour all the juices from the roasting tin into the bowl or jug with the juices saved from the foil. Spoon off all the fat which will float to the surface and discard. Place the roasting tin on a high heat on the stove top, add the flour and stir to scrape up all the sediment from the tin. Cook for one minute.

Pour in the port and stir well then add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the turkey juices, bring back to the boil and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the redcurrant jelly stir until dissolved then strain into a gravy boat or serving jug.