Alyn's Christmas turkey

  • medium
  • 8
  • 4 hours 30 minutes
Not yet rated

The thing that elevates this Christmas turkey to the next level is the precision cooking. Rather than roast a whole bird and risk dry breast meat or soggy stuffing, Alyn Williams butchers the bird before poaching the breasts and de-boning, stuffing and rolling the legs. If not butchering the turkey yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you — just make sure you keep all of the bones and offcuts to make the delicious gravy!

First published in 2015





  • 1 turkey, 3kg in weight, free-range and organic
  • 2l chicken stock
  • 2l water


  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1.5l chicken stock
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour, optional
  • vegetable oil

Stuffing for legs


Carrots, parsnips and sprouts


  • Thermometer
  • Butcher's string
  • Pastry brush


Begin by butchering the turkey. Remove both the legs and thighs in one piece, ensuring you keep as much fat and skin intact as possible. Next, remove the wing tips and set aside for the gravy
  • 1 turkey, 3kg in weight, free-range and organic
Smooth and stretch the skin over the crown to maximise the amount of skin coverage - this helps it to remain intact when removed. Turn the bird on its side and carefully remove each breast, making sure you take as much meat off the carcass as possible
Once the breasts have been removed, trim off any sinew and remove the tender fillets - these can be cut up and browned off for the gravy, frozen for a separate meal or minced for the stuffing
Now prepare each leg for stuffing. Firmly run the knife around the lower part of the drumstick to cut through all the tendons and sinew. With the flesh side up, cut along the thigh and leg bone and then in and around each of the bones, leaving as much meat behind as possible. Place all of the meat in the fridge until required
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
For the gravy, place all of the turkey bones and scraps in a deep-sided oven tray with a small drizzle of vegetable oil. Roast until dark golden in colour, remove from the oven and remove the bones from the tray. Place the tray over a medium heat
  • vegetable oil
Add the flour to the leftover juices and oil in the tray and stir to form a roux. Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly to thicken. Once all of the stock has been added, return the bones to the tin, cover with foil and place back in oven for 25 minutes. Remove, pass through a fine strainer and season to taste. If the sauce is still too thin, combine the cornflour with a little water and whisk in to thicken
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1.5l chicken stock
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour, optional
To prepare the stuffing, place a pan on a medium heat. Add a dash of vegetable oil and cook the onions and sage until golden. Season with salt, remove from the pan and allow to cool
Add the chestnuts, turkey and sausage meat to the cooked onions. Mix well with a knob of butter to combine and fry off a small portion in a hot pan to taste for seasoning
Remove the legs and breasts from the fridge. Place each leg, skin-side down, on the work surface and add enough stuffing along the centre of the leg to allow an overlap of 3-4 cm of skin when rolled
Roll each leg closed and truss with butcher's string by tying a tight double knot at 2-3cm intervals along the cylinder. Brush 2 large sheets of foil with the softened butter and season with salt. Place the stuffed leg onto the buttered side and roll tightly, sealing the ends firmly to create a neat sausage shape
Truss the breasts in the same way you did with the legs, but without stuffing or wrapping in tin foil - this will ensure the shape and thickness of the meat is even, allowing for a more consistent cooking time and neat finish
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4
To poach the breasts, combine the stock and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, lower in the breasts and attach a thermometer to the side of the pan. Return the pan to a low heat to ensure the temperature is maintained at 75°C or 45 minutes
  • 2l chicken stock
  • 2l water
While the breasts are poaching, place the stuffed legs in the oven for the same cooking time - 45 minutes. Remove both the breasts and legs from the pan and oven respectively and allow to rest for 10 minutes, ensuring the foil has been removed from around the legs
While the turkey is cooking, prepare the roasties, carrots and parsnips. Cut the potatoes into large pieces, place in a saucepan of lightly salted water and bring to a gentle boil, cooking until tender. Repeat this process with the carrots and parsnips combined in a seperate pan
When the potatoes are ready, strain and allow to steam in a colander for 10-15 minutes. Repeat with the carrots and parsnips and set aside
While the vegetables are steaming/cooling, add a generous amount of duck fat and equal amounts of vegetable oil to a deep-sided roasting tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes. By this time the turkey will be resting, so increase the oven temperature to 200˚C/gas mark 6
  • duck fat, goose or beef also work well
  • vegetable oil
Remove the hot tray of fat from the oven, add the potatoes, a few generous knobs of butter and a good seasoning of salt. Place back into the oven - the butter will melt and foam with the fat, coating the potatoes as they roast
Check the potatoes after 20 minutes and turn if necessary. Continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes until crispy and golden on all sides. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 180°C/gas mark 4
While the potaoes are roasting, place 2 large pans on a medium-high heat. Heat a dash of vegetalbe oil in each pan and add a knob of butter to one. Once the pan with butter begins to foam, add the cooked parnips and carrots, reduce the heat and baste in the pan for 10-15 minutes
In the other pan, add the breasts and leg, skin-side down, and sear on all sides until golden. Season with salt and place in the oven on the same tray as the roasties to warm through
While the parsnips and carrots are still browning in the pan, boil the sprouts in salted water until tender, strain and add to the same pan. Add a few dashes of chicken stock and glaze the contents of the pan. Remove from the heat and keep warm
  • 32 Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
  • chicken stock
  • salt
To serve, remove the turkey from the oven, cut off the butcher's string and carve into even portions, allowing 2 slices of breast and one of the leg per serving
Serve with the hot roasties, carrots, parsnips, sprouts and gravy
First published in 2015

Alyn Williams has worked at some of the very best kitchens in Britain, training for many years under Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay. His plates display his own unique culinary personality – brilliantly accomplished, playful and with remarkable interplay of flavours.

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