Christmas Dinner

Perfect Roast Turkey and Chestnut Stuffing


Tine: 5 hours


The turkey is the centrepiece of most traditional Christmas dinners. As the star of the show, it is important that you get this element of the meal just right.


5 kg free-range turkey (giblets removed for stock)

1 onion quartered

10 rashers streaky bacon

85g butter

1 glass white or Madeira wine

1 whole nutmeg

One lemon halved (use the same one you have removed the zest from for the stuffing)

Thyme sprigs

Salt and pepper to season


For the stuffing:


150 ml Madeira wine

2 sliced onions

10 rashers of streaky bacon

25g butter

20g dried porcini mushrooms

15g thyme leaves

900g Cumberland sausages with skins removed

85g breadcrumbs

200g whole cooked chestnuts

Zest of one lemon

15g chopped flat leaf parsley


  1. Start with the stuffing.

  2. Soak the dried mushrooms in the wine.

  3. Fry the onions in the butter until golden and then cool.

  4. Mix the onions with the thyme the mushrooms, wine and all other ingredients except the bacon and 8 chestnuts.

  5. Set aside half the stuffing in a bowl on your work surface.

  6. Line a greased loaf tin with the bacon and then add the remaining stuffing mixture.

  7. Bring the overhanging bacon over the top of the stuffing and secure them with cocktail sticks.

  8. Fill any gaps with the remaining chestnuts.

  9. Chill until you are ready to cook the stuffing. You can keep this refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for two months, so it can be prepared in advance.

  10. Wash and prepare the turkey the night before. Check it is thoroughly thawed if using a frozen turkey.

  11. Stuff the cavity between the turkey's legs with the thyme sprigs, onion quarters and lemon halves.

  12. Fill the neck end with the reserved stuffing.

  13. Tie the legs with string and secure the neck skin with skewers.

  14. Use extra wide foil to line a large roasting tin, and then add the turkey.

  15. Coat the turkey in butter.

  16. Season the turkey and grate over half the nutmeg.

  17. Cover with rashers of bacon and then pour over the wine.

  18. Fold over the foil to create a parcel and then chill overnight.

  19. On Christmas morning, take the turkey out of the fridge and rest at room temperature for one hour.

  20. Preheat oven to 190°C or gas mark 5.

  21. Roast turkey in the oven for 3 hours 50 minutes.

  22. Take Out of the oven and remove foil and bacon.

  23. Drain off the juices for the gravy.

  24. Check if the turkey is cooked using a skewer. If juices run clear the turkey is cooked.

  25. Return to the oven for 30 minutes to brown the skin.

  26. Remove from the oven and rest for 30 minutes before serving.


Delicious Madeira Gravy


Time: 10 minutes


Gravy it as its best when made from the meat juices. Try this tasty recipe to accompany your meal.


200ml Madeira

600ml turkey or chicken stock

700ml turkey juices with fat skimmed off

3 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard


  1. Mix the flour and Madeira until smooth.

  2. Heat stock in a pan.

  3. Add the mustard and flour mixture.

  4. Stir until thickened.

  5. Chill until turkey is cooked.

  6. Add the turkey juices and simmer until serving.


Vegetarian Option: Vegan Mushroom, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart


Time: 1 hour


Just because you are a vegetarian does not mean that you should miss out on a delicious feat. There are lots of options you can use as alternatives to turkey for the main component of your meal. While a meat substitute may initially spring to mind, this mushroom, chestnut and cranberry tart combines all the flavours of Christmas.


For the pastry:


230g plain flour

60g vegetable shortening

60g dairy-free margarine

½ tsp xanthan gum


For the filling:


250g chestnut mushrooms

250g wild mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic

360g peeled chestnuts

5 grated carrots

225g soya cream cheese

1 large onion

2 tbsp dried cranberries

Bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tbsp garlic oil

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4.

  2. Sift the xanthan gum and plain flour into a food processor.

  3. Add the vegetable shortening and margarine.

  4. Pulse until the consistency of breadcrumbs and then add 2 tbsp of cold water.

  5. Process again until the mixture binds together.

  6. Remove the dough and knead until smooth and elastic.

  7. Roll into a circle between two sheets of cling film.

  8. Remove one piece of cling film and flip into a greased tart tin.

  9. Remove the second piece of cling film.

  10. Press the pastry into the sides of the tin and trim away the edges.

  11. Finely chop the onions and garlic and grate the carrots.

  12. Set aside half the chestnut mushrooms for the topping and remove the stalks and finely slice the rest of the chestnut and wild mushrooms.

  13. Heat the oil in the frying pan and add the onions.

  14. Add the mushrooms, garlic, carrots and thyme. Cook until everything is softened.

  15. Add the cream cheese and half of the chestnuts while stirring.

  16. Add the filling to the pastry case and bake for 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp.

  17. Remove from the oven, set aside and cover to retain heat.

  18. Chop the remaining mushrooms, chestnuts and parsley.

  19. Heat the garlic oil in a frying pan and then add the mushrooms.

  20. After five minutes, add the chestnuts, parsley and cranberries.

  21. Cook until softened and then spoon over the tart.

  22. Can be served hot or cold.


Crispy Roast Potatoes


Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


For many people, roast potatoes are the highlight of the meal. You need to aim for crunchiness on the outside and a fluffy middle.


16 potatoes- (Maris Piper, King Edward or Desirée)

160g goose fat, duck fat or dripping (replace with extra vegetable oil for the vegetarian option)

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C or gas mark 5.

  2. Pell and quarter the potatoes.

  3. Add to a pan of water, bring to the boil and boil for two minutes.

  4. Drain in a colander and shake to fluff the edges. Sprinkle with the flour while doing this.

  5. Add the fat and oil to a roasting tray and put on the hob over a high heat until sizzling.

  6. Add the potatoes to brown them and coat with the fat and oil.

  7. Transfer the potatoes to the oven to roast for 20 minutes.

  8. Remove from the oven and put the tray back on the hob over a high heat.

  9. Turn the potatoes suing a fish slice.

  10. Return to the oven for 20 minutes before repeating steps 8 and 9.

  11. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes before serving.


Orange Glazed Baby Carrots


Time: 20 minutes


One of the easiest components to make is the carrots. This simple recipe adds amazing flavour and a splash of colour to your dinner table.


1 kg baby carrots

½ cup of fresh orange juice

6 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp butter

Pinch of salt


  1. Wash and trim the carrots.

  2. Add to a pan of water with a pinch of salt.

  3. Boil for 10 minutes or until tender.

  4. Drain the carrots and return to the pan.

  5. Pour over the orange juice and simmer for 5 minutes over a medium heat.

  6. Add the sugar and butter and continue to heat until the butter has melted. Stir well to coat all the carrots.


Roast Parmesan Parsnips


Time: 50 minutes


A traditional addition to the Christmas dinner plate, parsnips can be given additional flavour and crunch with the addition of Parmesan cheese.


2kg washed, peeled and quartered parsnips

100g Parmesan

6 tbsp polenta

6 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/ 220°C.

  2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, then add the parsnips.

  3. Cook the parsnips for 6 minutes until tender.

  4. Meanwhile, mix together the Parmesan, nutmeg and polenta.

  5. Drain the parsnips and then coat with the Parmesan mixture.

  6. Add the oil to a roasting tin and heat on the hob.

  7. Add the parsnips to the tin and toss in the oil to coat.

  8. Transfer to the oven for 15 minutes.

  9. Remove from the oven and turn the parsnips.

  10. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes until parsnips are golden and crisp.


Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto


Time: 20 minutes


Not to everyone’s taste, but what Christmas dinner would be complete without Brussels sprouts? The addition of prosciutto adds texture and flavour.


750g Brussels sprouts

4 slices of prosciutto

50g butter

Zest of ¼ lemon


  1. Crisp the prosciutto in a frying pan.

  2. Boil or steam the sprouts for seven minutes until tender.

  3. Drain and return to the pan.

  4. Add the lemon zest, butter and some seasoning to taste.

  5. Toss so all sprouts are coated.

  6. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with broken pieces of prosciutto.


Don't Forget the Drinks!


Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a little festive cheer! Sparkling white wine or champagne are the perfect drinks to complement a turkey dinner. For the non-drinkers at the table, buy alcohol-free white wine or serve cranberry and orange juice with soda water. The flavours of this alcohol-free cocktail work well with the flavours in the meal.




Provided you have planned well in advance and you have no mishaps along the way, you should be able to sit down with your family and guests to enjoy the beautiful food you have created. Remember, it is only one meal and delays are not a crisis. Don't get stressed, just take your time. It is your Christmas day too, so enjoy!