Traditional Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing

This traditional roast turkey is excellent for Christmas Day. This turkey will be cooked to perfection, and in half the time in an AGA.


12 lb (5.4kg) turkey

1 onion, trimmed and skin removed

1 organic unwaxed lemon, wiped clean

6 oz (175g) butter, softened

8 rashers lardons or streaky bacon

2 tbsp flour

1 pint (600ml) turkey stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the chestnut stuffing:

1 lb (450g) good-quality butcher's sausages

1 lb (450g) unsweetened chestnut pure

4 oz (115g) fresh breadcrumbs

1 large egg, beaten

freshly grated nutmeg

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the bacon and sausage trimming:

24 cocktail sausages

4 tbsp oil

4 tbsp maple syrup

12 rashers streaky bacon

Serves 12


1. You will need to take the turkey out of the refrigerator 2 hours before you are ready to cook it. Start by making the chestnut stuffing: skin the sausages and mix the sausage meat with the chestnut pure, breadcrumbs, egg and nutmeg. Season well, but go easy on the salt. Stuff the mixture into the neck end of the turkey only, making sure that the breast is well plumped, then draw the neck skin down to cover the stuffing and secure in place with a skewer. Place the onion and lemon, both halved, in the cavity.

2. Smear the breast and legs with the softened butter, then place the lardons or bacon over the breast. Season the bird, then weigh to establish the correct cooking time: for fast roasting in the AGA roasting oven, an 8-12 lb (3.6-5.4 kg) bird will take 1 3/4 - 2 hours; a 12 - 16 lb (5.4 - 7.25 kg) bird will take 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

3. If you are using a conventional cooker, roast the turkey at 180C/350F/ Gas Mark 4 for around 3 1/2 hours. Cooking times are approximate. Place the turkey in a large AGA roasting tin, on a grill rack if you have one. Hang from the lowest set of runners in the roasting oven - or cook on the lowest shelf of a conventional oven. When nicely browned, after about an hour, baste, then cover loosely with foil and continue to roast in this position.

4. While the turkey is roasting, prepare the garnishes: toss the sausages in the oil and maple syrup. De-rind the 12 rashers of bacon, stretch them slightly with the back of a knife. Cut each into 2 and roll the pieces up. Put the bacon rolls and sausages in half-size roasting tins lined with pieces of Bake-O-Glide to make washing-up easy. Use a grill rack for the bacon. Put all this aside, uncooked, until the bird is ready.

5. Test that the turkey is cooked by piercing the thigh with a skewer. If the juices run clear, it is ready. Remove the turkey to a second, clean, AGA roasting tin to rest. Put the sausage and bacon garnishes in to cook at a high level in the roasting oven for 20 - 25 minutes.

6. Next, make the gravy in the roasting tin: drain off any surplus fat from the cooking juices and, off the heat, add the flour to the juices to make a roux. Cook on the simmering plate or on the floor of the roasting oven for a couple of minutes. Heat the turkey stock and gradually whisk it in until the gravy is to your desired consistency. Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Season to taste and add a good slug of sherry. Serve the turkey on a warmed platter surrounded by the bacon rolls and sausages. 

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