Don’t sweat over cooking the turkey

Roast Turkey with Sage & Onion Butter and Marsala Gravy
Roast Turkey with Sage & Onion Butter and Marsala Gravy

Preparing your last-minute Christmas dinner needn’t feel like an audition for ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’.

By following simple recipe like the one below, and the odd shortcut when it comes to the trimmings, you can still find time to unwrap presents and quaff Buck’s Fizz with the rest of the family.


(Serves 8 with leftovers)

7kg fresh turkey

2 onions, halved

1 lemon, quartered

75g soft butter

3tbsp finely chopped fresh sage

2tbsp plain flour

200ml Marsala wine or Madeira

400-500ml chicken stock

1tbsp cranberry jelly

Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas mark 3-4, and place the turkey in a large roasting tin. Tuck three of the onion halves and the lemon quarters into the cavity and season. Cover with foil and roast for four hours.

Meanwhile, chop the remaining onion half and mix with the butter and sage. Take the turkey out the oven and raise the temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Brush the sage and onion butter all over the turkey and return to the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Transfer the turkey to a warm serving plate, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Tip the juices out of the pan into a bowl then scoop the buttery oil from the surface into a separate bowl. Spoon two tablespoons of this back into the tin and return to the heat.

Stir the flour into the tin using a wooden spoon. Cook for two minutes, then stir in the Marsala or Madeira and bring to the boil. Make the reserved turkey juices up to 500ml using hot chicken stock and pour into the tin. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, then add cranberry jelly.