Admit it, each Christmas you try a new gravy recipe, don’t you? With varying degrees of success too, right? How did your Irish grandmother ever make it look so easy? Well, first of all you need to stop relying on those powdered packet horrors and all the goopy tinned stuff. This week master Irish chef Kevin Dundon is here to help you crack Christmas. The man behind Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food on WLIW21, NJTV and Channel 13, Dundon is already a premier name in cooking in Ireland, and his new show here is furthering his fame. 

Let’s start Christmas 2013 with his failsafe turkey recipe:

14 lb. approx. turkey
1 cup butter
3 tbsp. sage
1 medium sized onion
Seasoning — salt, pepper

On Christmas morning Dundon advises you to stuff your turkey with pre-prepared stuffings (see below). First preheat the oven to 400F. Soften the butter in a bowl and add the sage and mix. Rub some butter underneath the turkey breast by lifting the skin gently with your hands and massaging the butter onto the flesh.

Place the sausage meat stuffing in the neck cavity and then line the cavity with some tin foil or parchment paper and loosely pack the sage stuffing into the bird.

Put the turkey onto a large roasting tray and place in the preheated oven. If you feel the turkey is browning too quickly you can cover it with some foil for the first two hours.

Allocate 20 minutes per pound and then an additional 20-30 minutes in the oven. In total it should take about four hours. When a skewer is inserted into the meat nearest the bone (i.e. the leg) the juices should run completely clear. Allow the meat to rest when it comes out of the oven and carve as required.


That’s the main event sorted out. Next you’ll need a truly delicious gravy. That takes a little work but the end result is a triumph. Here’s the recipe:

3 cups turkey/chicken stock
Turkey giblets
2 carrots
1 onion
4 tbsp. of plain flour
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup Red Wine
1 tbsp olive oil

Place the turkey giblets, carrots and onions on a tray and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven at 400F for 45 minutes to one hour until they are fully cooked through.  Remove any excess fat, if any.

Pour the turkey stock into a saucepan and add the bay leaves, bring to the boil. Remove the tray with the giblets from the oven and place on the hob.  Sprinkle the flour onto the tray and brown on the hob.

When the flour has browned deglaze the pan with the red wine, the pass the gravy through a sieve into another saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then slowly add the warmed turkey stock and reduce by half.  Serve immediately.

This year, if you’re going all out, why not get adventurous with your turkey stuffing too? Here’s the recipe:

1 cup sausage meat
1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
2 onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup chestnuts, chopped

In a large bowl mix together the sausage meat, bread crumbs and the chopped herbs. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the finely diced onions, chestnuts, cranberries and garlic and using your hands to combine all the ingredients together.

Place the stuffing in the cavity of the Turkey and cook as per instructions or alternatively place in a baking tin and cover in foil. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes at 400F.

Traditional meatless stuffing is so easy to make, and so much tastier than the packet stuff.

1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped Sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 tablespoons chopped
fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion. Sauté the onion for three to four minutes until softened and translucent but not colored.

In the meantime, put the breadcrumbs and herbs into a large bowl ensuring the herbs are mixed through, season to taste. Pour the heated butter and onion over the bread crumb and herb mixture and place in a preheated oven for 20–25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. If you are using this stuffing for the Turkey ensure the stuffing is cooled down before placing in the turkey cavity.

* Originally published in 2013.

Follow chef Kevin Dundon's failsafe turkey recipe for a delicious main course.Kevin Dundon