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Christmas turkey with cranberry, chestnut and sage stuffing recipe

Christmas turkey with cranberry, chestnut and sage stuffing recipe

13 ratings

Cooking for special diets can sometimes seem intimidating so, for a gluten-free Christmas dinner that doesn't compromise on taste or trimmings, try this wonderful Christmas turkey that's guaranteed to impress. Pair with smoky pancetta-wrapped cranberry stuffing and rich sherry gravy for a festive family feast. See method

  • Serves 12
  • 20 mins to prepare and 3 hrs 30 mins to cook
  • 564 calories / serving
  • Gluten-free


  • 5kg free-range turkey
  • 1 echalion shallot, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 celery sticks, halved

For the stuffing

  • 50g softened butter
  • 3-4 echalion shallots (about 200g), finely chopped
  • 75g dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 24 sage leaves, 12 finely chopped and 12 left whole
  • 50g ready-cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 350g pack Tesco Finest pork sausagemeat
  • 2 slices gluten-free sliced bread
  • 1 orange, finely zested
  • whole nutmeg, to grate
  • 110g pack sliced Tesco Finest smoked pancetta

For the gravy

  • 125ml dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly, plus extra to taste
  • gluten-free chicken stock cubes (to make 800ml-1ltr stock)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 3 tbsp cold water

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    19g 28%
  • Saturates

    8g 38%
  • Sugars

    8g 9%
  • Salt

    2.2g 36%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 19.5g Protein 75.2g Fibre 2.8g


  1. Remove the turkey from the fridge 1 hr before cooking to allow it to come up to room temperature. If your turkey has any giblets inside, remove and discard or use to make stock. Pat the skin dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Place the halved shallot and 1 bay leaf inside the main cavity of the bird, then tie the turkey legs together with kitchen string (it's best to use wet string to prevent it burning in the oven).
  3. Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Melt 25g butter in a large frying pan, add the shallots and cook over a low heat for 10 mins or until very soft, then tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Blitz the bread to fine breadcrumbs in a food processor. Then add the cranberries, sage, chestnuts, sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, half of the orange zest and a generous grating of nutmeg to the bowl. Season and mix well to combine.
  4. When you're ready to stuff the turkey, place it on a large clean board and preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Add the remaining orange zest and another grating of nutmeg to the remaining butter in a bowl and mix well. Using your fingers, gently ease the skin away from the turkey breast, being careful not to rip the skin. Carefully spread the softened butter mixture under the skin and over the breast to thinly cover it.
  5. Place about 300g of the stuffing mixture inside the neck cavity, then turn the turkey over so that it's breast-side down, pull the neck skin flap down over the stuffing to encase it and secure with cocktail sticks or skewers.
  6. Weigh the stuffed turkey to calculate the cooking time based on 20 mins per kg, plus 105 mins. A stuffed 5kg bird should weigh about 5.3kg so should take around 3½ hrs in the oven.
  7. Arrange the celery in the base of a large roasting tin to make a trivet for the bird to sit on, and add the remaining bay leaf. Place the turkey on top of the celery trivet. Loosely cover with lightly buttered foil. Cook in the oven for the calculated time, basting with the juices after the first hour and thereafter, every 45 mins. Remove the foil for the final 40-45 mins to allow the skin to turn golden and crisp – do keep an eye on it so it doesn't darken too much.
  8. Meanwhile, shape the remaining stuffing into 12 equal balls, wrapping each in a slice of pancetta and tucking in a sage leaf. Cover and chill until ready to cook.
  9. To check whether the turkey is cooked through, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest parts of the leg and breast, avoiding the bone. If it reads 75°C or above, it's cooked. Alternatively, insert a metal skewer in the same way and check the juices run clear. If they're pink or the temperature is below 75°C, roast for 15 mins more, then retest.
  10. Transfer the bird to a carving board or warmed serving platter, cover loosely with large sheets of foil and clean tea towels. Rest for at least 30 mins (or up to 1½ hrs). While the turkey rests, cook the stuffing balls for 25-30 mins or until cooked through.
  11. To make the gravy, scoop out the celery and transfer to a medium pan and set aside. Tip the meat juices from the roasting tin into a large jug, allow to settle, then skim off and discard any excess fat. You should have about 400ml of meat juices, don't worry if you have less, you can just top up with extra stock.
  12. Put the roasting tin over a medium-high heat on the hob. When hot, add the sherry to deglaze the tin – scraping the base of the tin with a wooden spoon to loosen any meaty bits stuck to it. Carefully pour this mixture into the pan with the celery, along with the meat juices, the redcurrant jelly, 800ml chicken stock and the bay leaf (if you had less than 400ml meat juices, then add extra stock here). Slowly bring to the boil, then boil rapidly for 10 mins until beginning to reduce. Season to taste adding a little more redcurrant jelly if needed – you can also add a squeeze of lemon juice here if you like.
  13. Strain through a sieve and return to the pan. Off the heat, gradually stir the cornflour mixture into the gravy until thickened. If it’s still too thin, repeat with 1 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water until the gravy reaches a velvety, pourable thickness. Keep warm over a low heat (but don’t let it boil) until ready to serve.
  14. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy, stuffing balls and your favourite festive vegetable sides

Tip: Not a fan of cranberries? Swap for chopped dried apricots as these work really well with sage.

If you don’t have any dry sherry in the cupboard, use white wine or leftover prosecco.

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