Homemade stuffing and plenty of juices for an apple-scented gravy make this a very appealing Christmas feast. Apple sage turkey is a brilliant flavour combination.
The sharp, late autumn sweetness of the apples and the deep herbiness of the sage work so well with the mild creamy taste of the turkey. Roasting the bird over a bath of cider also makes this apple sage turkey a great recipe for turkey novices. This method keeps the oven and the roast moist. It also provides you with plenty of fantastic flavoured liquid for basting during cooking, and to make the gravy while the turkey rests. Making your own stuffing and using it inside the bird might sound advanced, but it’s all relatively easy. Simply stick to the correct cooking times and check your bird is thoroughly cooked before resting.
- 4.5-5kg (10-11lb) Bronze turkey, we used a KellyBronze
- 30g (1oz) melted butter
- 2 litre bottle medium-sweet cider
For the stuffing
- 450-500g packet sausages or sausagemeat
- 1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped
- 30g (1oz) breadcrumbs
- 2tbsp chopped fresh sage
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To make the stuffing: Tip all the ingredients into a bowl and mix them until they just bind together.
- Stuff the neck end of the turkey, packing the stuffing in firmly, but without over-filling it. Any extra stuffing can be shaped into balls and cooked on a baking tray.
- Position one oven shelf towards the bottom of the oven for the turkey, and the other shelf towards the top of the oven for the vegetables.
- Weigh the stuffed turkey to calculate the cooking time. As there can be variations between metric and imperial weights, we base our timings on the metric weight, and allow 20 mins per kg, plus 90 mins. It’s better to leave the turkey to rest for 20-30 mins before carving, so take this into account when calculating what time to put it in the oven. So if the turkey with stuffing weighs 5kg, then it will about 3 hours 10 mins. See our turkey timer to calculate the time for your turkey.
- Place the turkey in a roasting tin and brush the melted butter over it. Pour the cider into the roasting tin. Cover the tin with foil and place it in the oven. Keep the turkey covered with foil until the last 45-50 mins of the calculated cooking time.
- To test if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the flesh on the thigh with a skewer. If the juices that run out are clear, then it’s cooked, but if there is still any pinkness, then continue cooking. When the juices run clear, remove the turkey from the oven and cover the tin with a clean sheet of foil. Leave the turkey in a warm place for 20-30 mins before carving.
- Strain the juices left in the pan and use them juices to make gravy.
Top tips for making apple sage turkey
If you'd prefer not to use alcohol in this recipe swap it for a mixture of half apple juice and half chicken stock.
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Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.
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