Classic Roast Turkey and all the Trimmings

Keep Christmas straightforward this year, with this timeless recipe a succulent golden roasted turkey with all the trimmings.

We just find it irresistible at anytime a moist, tender roast turkey and this recipe is the one I have used since I began roasting turkeys professionally way back in about 1968. At The Whitewell Hotel on the 2 weeks run up to Christmas we used to roast 2 to 3 turkeys a day and probably 6 on Christmas day at the Willow Tree restaurant we roasted 6 to 7 each day for the first 3 weeks of December and always had a perfect roast turkey with a golden crispy skin moist tender meat which was very flavoursome.

Serves / Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Prep-Time: 15 minutes

Cook-Time: 3 hours 20 minutes to cook, plus 30 minutes resting

You Will Need

  • 1 x 5 kilogram fresh turkey, we prefer the Bronze because its meat has a darker colour with a much gamier flavour
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 50 grams, goose fat
  • 6 onions, quartered
  • 1 large bunch of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme

    For The Gravy

  • Turkey, giblets and neck
  • 1 carrot, quartered lengthways
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 25 grams, flour
  • 1 small glass white wine


    Remove the turkey from the fridge 2 to 3 hours before you want to cook it, and allow it to reach room temperature.

    Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.

    Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time at 20 minutes per 500 grams (so a 5kg turkey will take 3 hours 20 minutes) to make the turkey easier to carve just remove the wishbone with a boning knife remove and reserve the giblets

    Rinse the turkey under cold water, and then pat dry with kitchen towel, season inside the turkey with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then put in the lemon quarters.

    Grease the tin with some of the goose fat, then place the onions and herb sprigs over the bottom, place the turkey on top, then rub the bird with the remaining goose fat and season with sea salt.

    Cover the breast of the turkey with foil and cook in the oven for the calculated cooking time, occasionally basting with the juices.

    About half an hour before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil and return the turkey to the oven to brown the skin.

    At this time make the stock for the gravy by boiling the giblets, neck, vegetables, and bouquet garni.

    Check that the turkey is cooked through by pushing a skewer into the thickest parts of the thighs if the juices are still pink and not clear, return to the oven for a further 15 minutes before testing again.

    Remove the turkey to a large serving dish and cover tightly with buttered foil, leave to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. The reason for doing this is that resting the bird allows its juices to rise to the surface, making the turkey more juicy to eat and easier to carve.

    While the turkey is resting make the gravy, add enough flour to the roasting pan to take up the fat and drippings and make a roux.

    Add the wine to the pan and make sure to scrape up all the drippings all the flavour is in the bottom of the pan, transfer to a saucepan.

    Add about 500ml of the stock to the saucepan with the bouquet garni and bring to the boil, then simmer until the gravy is reduced you may need to add more stock if the liquid is too thick.

    Season to taste, remove the bouquet garni, and serve in a gravy boat along with the turkey.

    We like to serve the turkey on a dish surrounded by chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon and stuffing balls and sometimes a bread sauce and cranberry jelly.


    Using goose fat is the best way to get a crispy finish to both your Christmas bird and roast potatoes.


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