Roast turkey with citrus butter, pistachio stuffing and cranberry gravy recipe

  • Serves 8, plus leftovers
  • 20 mins to prepare and 3 hours 20 mins to cook, plus resting
  • 378 calories / serving
  • Healthy
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This golden turkey centrepiece will not fail to impress on Christmas day. Not only is the meat succulent and tender, but the pistachio stuffing lends an earthy, nutty flavour and the citrus butter brings a velvety zing. Get ahead with your Christmas dinner by making and freezing the stuffing a month in advance – you can even butter and stuff the turkey the day before and keep chilled until needed.

  1. Begin by making the stuffing: heat the oil and butter in a pan. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Stir through the garlic and thyme and fry for 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl; fold through the nuts, breadcrumbs and lemon zest and juice. Leave to cool a little, then add the parsley and enough egg to bind. Season well, then mix together with your hands. Set aside.
  2. For the citrus butter, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Season well. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin at the neck end of the turkey, being careful to keep it intact. Push the citrus butter under the skin and spread it evenly over the breast.
  4. Fill the neck pocket with the stuffing*, packing it in tightly. (If you can’t fit it all in, roll the remainder into balls and add to the tin for the final 45 minutes of cooking.) Tuck the skin under and secure it with a cocktail stick. Drizzle the turkey with the oil; season well. Stuff the cavity with the rosemary, plus the leftover clementine and lemon halves from the butter.
  5. Roast the turkey for 3 hours 15 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices. Check the bird regularly; when the skin has turned golden, cover with kitchen foil for the remaining cooking time. Add the citrus halves to the roasting tin for the final 45 minutes.
  6. As cooking times will vary according to the weight of your turkey and stuffing, ensure it is cooked all the way through with no pink meat showing. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate, tipping it as you lift so the juices run back into the tin (reserve for the gravy). Cover with foil and leave to rest for 1-2 hours.
  7. For the gravy, skim the fat from the roasting tin and discard. Put the tin on the hob over a medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the sticky bits from the bottom. Pour in the wine, simmer for 1 minute, then add the stock and the cranberry sauce. Simmer until reduced; season to taste. Set aside until needed.
  8. When ready to serve, reheat the gravy and garnish the turkey with the roasted citrus fruits and bay leaves.

*If cooking for vegetarian guests, roll the stuffing into balls and cook in a separate roasting tin for 45 minutes. 

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

The pistachio stuffing can be frozen – make according to the recipe and allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 1 month. 

Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before continuing with the recipe.

See more Christmas turkey recipes

For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home and view the full Food safety at home video.

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  • Ingredients

  • 1 x 5kg turkey, giblets removed, brought to room temperature
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 rosemary sprigs, plus extra to garnish
  • halved citrus fruits, such as lemons, clementines and kumquats, to garnish
  • fresh bay leaves, to garnish
  • For the pistachio stuffing

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 70g (2 1/2oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 echalion shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) pistachios, finely chopped
  • 80g (3oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 25g (1oz) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • For the citrus butter

  • 50g (2oz) salted butter, softened
  • 2 clementines, zested, then halved for the cavity
  • 1 lemon, zested, then halved for the cavity
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • For the gravy

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 150ml (1/4pt) white wine
  • 300ml (1/2pt) fresh chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
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  • Energy 1588kj 378kcal 19%
  • Fat 16.2g 23%
  • Saturates 6g 30%
  • Sugars 1.1g 1%
  • Salt 0.5g 9%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 7.6g Protein 49.2g Fibre 1.2g


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