Traditional roast turkey with pork, sage and onion stuffing


1 Turkey, about 6.3 kg oven-ready
175g Butter, softened
225g rashers of streaky bacon, very fatty
1 pinch salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the pork, sage and onion stuffing
900g pork sausage meat, good-quality or finely minced pure pork
2 tsp dried sage
1 large onion, grated or very finely chopped
4 tbsp white breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten (optional)
1 pinch salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the gravy:
2 tbsp plain flour
900ml turkey giblet stock, giblet stock


1. Before you start, please bear in mind that it is important to take the turkey out of the fridge last thing on Christmas Eve to allow it to come to room temperature so that it heats up immediately you put it in the oven. The same applies to the stuffing (you can make this on Christmas Eve, ahead of time), and you also need to remove the 6 oz (175 g) of butter to soften ready for the morning.

2. To make the stuffing, combine the breadcrumbs with the onion and sage in a large mixing bowl, then stir in a little boiling water and mix thoroughly. Next work the sausagemeat or minced pork and egg, if using, into this mixture and season with salt and pepper. Leave the stuffing covered in a cool place - but not in the fridge, as it shouldn't be too cold when you come to stuff the turkey.

3. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C). Begin, on the morning of cooking, by stuffing the turkey. Loosen the skin with your hands and pack the stuffing into the neck end, pushing it up between the flesh and the skin towards the breast (though not too tightly because it will expand during the cooking). Press it in gently to make a nice rounded end, then tuck the neck flap under the bird's back and secure with a small skewer. Don't expect to get all the stuffing in this end - put the rest into the body cavity.

4. Now arrange two large sheets of foil across your baking tin - one of them widthways, the other lengthways (no need to butter them). Lay the turkey on its back in the centre, then rub it generously all over with the butter, making sure the thighbones are particularly well covered. Next season the bird all over with salt and pepper, and lay the bacon over the breast with the rashers overlapping each other.