Roast turkey with lemon, cranberry and thyme stuffing

This classic Christmas main dish is given a fresh twist with a light, delicious stuffing

Nothing screams Christmas dinner quite like a magnificent roast turkey in the centre of the table. This recipe features a crowd-pleasing stuffing made from lemon, cranberry and thyme, the fragrance of which will permeate your entire home as it cooks slowly in a moderate oven for approximately four hours.

To create the ultimate Christmas feast, serve it alongside glazed ham, dressed oysters with radish and cucumber salad and follow up with dessert featuring a black forest pavlova.




To make stuffing, put chicken stock in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Heat the butter in a large, deep non-stick frying pan over low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 15 minutes or until soft and lightly caramelised.


Add cardamom and rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add hot stock and stir until combined. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for about 25-30 minutes, or until rice is just tender. Remove from heat. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid and allow to cool slightly. Stir through cranberries, lemon thyme, zest and almonds. Season to taste.


Preheat oven to 180C. Remove giblets and neck from cavity of turkey. Wash inside with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Spoon stuffing in both ends of turkey to fill cavities. Pull excess skin, at neck end, to pull up and over filling. Secure by inserting wooden skewers. Use more skewers to secure skin over filling at other end, then tie legs together with kitchen string. Keep any remaining stuffing covered and refrigerated. Reheat to serve with turkey.


Put turkey in a deep roasting pan with 2 cups water. Brush turkey with melted butter. Cover entire pan with large pieces of wet baking paper, then foil. Roast for 3 hours. Uncover and then baste with pan juices, being careful not to spoon basting juices over cavity as stuffing will become soggy. Roast for a further 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting a few times, until turkey is cooked through and golden. Stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter and cover with foil to rest while making gravy.


To make gravy, combine flour and 1/3 cup stock in a large jug until smooth, then stir in rest of stock. Pour turkey pan juices into a large saucepan, then add wine. Bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Whisk in stock and flour mixture and return to the boil. Add gravy granules and preserved lemon. Gently boil, whisking often, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened to desired consistency. Season to taste. Reheat reserved rice stuffing. Serve turkey with gravy.

TIP: When using preserved lemon, discard flesh and use rind only.

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