British Chicken Main course Xmas recipes

Alternative way to cook the turkey recipe

If you’re worried about dry turkey on Christmas then this is just for you, this recipe uses steam to help cook the turkey and involves nothing more complicated than a big roll of tinfoil


Cooking time
4 hours


1x5kg (11lb) turkey, giblets and wishbone removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled
2 large onions, peeled
6 celery sticks
1/2 medium leek
500ml (175 fl oz) dry white wine
1.2 litres (2 pints) cold water
2 chicken stock cubes
2 bay leaves
55g (2oz) melted butter
2 tbsps cornflour
4-6 tbsps cold water


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.  Season the turkey well inside and out and tie the legs and parson’s nose together with string.

Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place in the bottom of a large baking tray – it should be large enough so the turkey has at least a 5cm (2in) gap around it. Place the bird on top.  Add the white wine, cold water, stock cubes and bay leaves then place the whole tray on to the hob.

Bring to the boil, cover and seal tightly all around the tray with two layers of foil. This really is the important bit – if it’s not sealed completely, the steam will escape and the bird will not cook quickly or in a moist state.  Put the turkey into the preheated oven and cook it for about 2 hours.

To check if the bird is cooked, remove it from the oven carefully as there will be a lot of stock, wine and juices. Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches itself to the body of the bird – the juices should run clear. If not, cover with foil and cook for another 20 minutes.

When the turkey is cooked, remove it from the oven, turn the oven up to 230°C/450°F/gas 8, brush with the melted butter and return to the oven for about 15 minutes, until browned.  When the turkey is nicely browned, remove it from the oven and carefully tip out all the stock and keep warm. Wrap the turkey in foil to keep warm – it will keep perfectly wrapped for 1 hour.

Re-boil the stock and juices – you may need to add a little more water – in a saucepan and skim well. Mix the cornflour and water together and thicken the stock, carve the bird – the flesh will be soft and juicy – and serve the gravy and stuffing separately.

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