Christmas Turkey Recipe


Turkey Legs Stuffed with Orange & Cranberry Stuffing &

Turkey Crown in Citrus Tarragon Brine 

Turkey Brine

6 Ltr water
350 g salt
200 g sugar
1 bunch fresh tarragon
1 bunch fresh parsley
4 bay leaf
2 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 large or 2 small onions, sliced
4 tbsp black peppercorns
1 lemon, halved
2 oranges, halved

Cranberry & Orange Stuffing

1 loaf of fresh white bread cut into cubes
150 g butter
1 onion
200 g fresh cranberries
Zest of 1 orange
250 ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp dried sage or 1 tbsp fresh
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper

3 Days Before:

Combine all the brine ingredients in a pot large enough to hold the turkey crown, squeeze the lemon & oranges into the brine before throwing the halves in. Place over a high heat and bring the brine to the boil, stirring to make sure that all of the salt and sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool at room temperature overnight.

2 Days Before:

Remove the legs from the Turkey (see notes below)

Add the turkey crown to the brine and place a plate over top with a weight on it to submerge the turkey in the brine. Place the brine with turkey into the fridge or a very cool place for 24 hours.

Day Before:

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cold water. Pat the skin dry and leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.  Make the stuffing and de-bone the turkey legs (see notes below). Stuff them and roll them, tying them tightly with butcher’s string. Refrigerate overnight.

On the Day:

 Preheat the oven to 220° C. Stuff the turkey crown with the remaining stuffing and oil the breasts (the turkey does not need to be seasoned because of the brine).  Roast the turkey crown, breast side down for 30 minutes, reduce temperature to 160° C and continue to roast until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 65° C or see roasting times below. Turn the crown so that the skin is up and ready to crisp Turn the temperature back up to 220 ° C for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Add the turkey legs to the roasting tin about half way through the cooking time or when the crown has reached 35°C.

If the turkey skin is becoming too dark, cover with aluminium foil to deflect the direct heat and prevent the skin from burning. Once cooked, let the turkey rest, covered with foil, for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Wine Pairings:

Red:Chateau Calon Montagne Saint- Emilion
White: Domaine Collet Chablis Premier Cru Vallions


Oven Ready Size Starting Temperature Roasting Temperature Browning Temperature
220°C/ Gas 7 160°C/ Gas 3 220°C/ Gas 7
3.5-5 kg 30 minutes 2 1/2 – 3 hours about 30 minutes
5.4 kg 40 minutes 3 – 3 1/2 hours about 30 minutes
6.75 – 9kg 40 minutes 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours about 30 minutes


Removing the Turkey Legs from the Bird

Grab the leg with your left hand (if right handed) and pull away from the body of the bird. Start slicing the skin that connects the leg to the body, as close to the body as possible. Once the skin is loose, bring the bird to the edge of the counter with the leg on the outside. Use the leverage of the countertop to disconnect the hip joint by firmly holding the leg at the thigh and pulling it towards the floor while holding on to the body on the table. Once the joint has been removed from the socket, use your knife to cut through the flesh around the joint and remove the leg from the body. Repeat with the other leg.

Removing the bones from the Turkey Legs

Place the leg skin side down on your chopping board. Starting with the thigh, slice through the meat until you hit the bone. Guide your knife along the bone on either side to release it from the meat then slide your knife under the top of the bone and slice under the bone towards yourself to remove the flesh. Once the bone is loose, pull it away from the flesh and cut through the joint at the top of the drumstick to remove the bone. Repeat the process with the bone in the drumstick, leaving the bone attached at the ankle joint. Once the bone is loose, but still attached at the ankle, pull the bone up and away from the flesh and use your knife to slide under the sinew that is attached to the ankle. The tension from the bone should help you remove the sinew with ease. Don’t worry too much about removing flesh with the sinew, it’s inevitable. Once the sinew is free from the flesh, cut the bone off the leg, set aside the meat (keep the bone for stock!) and repeat with the other leg.