Roast turkey and all the trimmings

Here's the perfect recipe for Christmas dinner from our Cookery Editor Local Mum Renee Davis

We had a lovely meal on Xmas day last year - I sourced a local free range bronze feathered bird which was utterly delicious. Although the gravy making was a little laborious, the flavour was amazing and worth every second. I kept starch to a minimum and felt full afterwards but not horribly bloated. We ate the meal around two hours after our starter and didn't even manage desert, which was a first in our house!

Ingredients - to serve a family of four and have two meals worth of meat leftovers:

(turkey) small sized bird - ours was 2.6kg

50g room-temp softened butter 

Small handful of fresh sage, finely chopped

Large rasher of cooked streaky bacon or pancetta, finely chopped

(gravy) 100ml stock

2 tbsp port

Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Stick of celery, finely chopped

Large shallot or small red onion, finely chopped

Turkey neck from the giblet bag

Tbsp olive oil

(veg) 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into four

2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped into four

Decent chunk of pumpkin or squash, peeled and chopped as big as the parsnip and carrot

100g shredded sweetheart cabbage

Extra butter or olive oil to cook the cabbage

Salt & pepper to taste


- preheat the oven to 200C/425F

- while the oven is heating, prep your turkey by taking out the giblet bag and plucking any stray feathers. Pat it all over with kitchen towel and place on a large non-stick baking tray

- in a small bowl combine the butter, bacon/pancetta and sage. Using your hands spread the buttery mix between the skin and breast ensuring even coverage. Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 30 mins

- turn the temp down to 170C/350F and roast for a further 45 mins

- at this point add the root veg to the tray, reduce the oven temp again to 160C/320F and roast for another 45 mins

please note these times are accurate based on a 2.6kg turkey, you would need to work out appropriate times based on the size of your bird

- remove the turkey from the oven and allow up to an hour for it to rest. Cover in tin foil and place a tea towel over the top to keep it nice and warm. Let the veg slow roast in the oven in the delicious meat juices

- start making the gravy about halfway through cooking the turkey. Sweat the shallots/onion and celery in olive oil over a med heat until soft, then add the turkey neck and brown off on both sides. Add the port and balsamic vinegar, cook for a few mins, then cover with stock and allow to reduce on a very low heat for 60-90 mins. Pass through a sieve (saving the neck for another time), and pour into a gravy jug

- about ten mins before you are ready to serve, cook your cabbage in a knob of butter or glug of olive oil

- carve up your bird and serve when your veggies are ready to come out of the oven

Enjoy folks, have a fab Christmas xx

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