Tom Kerridge’s Christmas Turkey Roll with Sage & Onion Stuffing (adapted for Turkey Breast)




This recipe comes from Tom Kerridge’s magnificent book ‘Proper Pub Food’, which my friend Danny bought me for Christmas. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait until the 25th to get stuck in – and I’m glad I didn’t. This Turkey Roll recipe is incredible.

Be warned, it involves a lot of stages, and a hell of a lot of ingredients, and I’m afraid I took a couple of shortcuts because I couldn’t find some components.

Also, Tom’s recipe is for 6-8 obviously very hungry people, but I only needed enough for my wife and our three kids, so instead of using a whole boned-out turkey, as Tom recommends, I plumped for a plump turkey breast, which yielded more than enough meat and stuffing for our needs.

My other shortcuts were:

– I made my own gravy with homemade chicken stock I had in the freezer, jazzed up with a glass of white wine, thyme sprigs, the juices from the rested turkey and some cranberry sauce.

– I didn’t have the energy to make Tom’s brown sauce, so used a brushing of HP Sauce at the penultimate stage.

Even though I was using a smaller cut, I still used the same quantities of ingredients to make the stuffing and crumble and used them up as leftovers if I had any.

The cooking method is interesting: you wrap the turkey tightly in clingfilm and then cook at a low temperature for 90 minutes. I was worried that the clinglfilm would melt, at at 120C/Gas 1/2 it didn’t – that’s physics, eh?

One more thing: you’ll need an instant-read thermometer to rest that the turkey and stuffing is properly cooked. Tom says if you buy one: “I promise you will have a lovely, moist and succulent turkey breast. It could be the best £10 you’ll ever spend.” And he was right!




1 boneless, skinless turkey, 2-2.2kg, butterflied – any butcher will do this for you, and make sure to ask for the bones
150ml home-made brown sauce (scroll to bottom for Tom’s recipe)


1 large turkey breast, boneless, skin on
2 tbsp HP Sauce



250g butter, cubed
400g onion, finely chopped
800g sausage meat
160g fresh fine breadcrumbs
100g vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts, finely chopped
100g dried cranberries
5 tbsp chopped sage leaves
1 tbsp juniper berries, finely chopped
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp salt
20 streaky smoked bacon rashers


I used Tom’s recipe, but couldn’t find fresh juniper berries so left them out. I also only used  streaky bacon rashers.

METHOD: To make the sage and onion stuffing, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry, stirring, for three to five minutes until softened. Tip the onions and butter into a large bowl and leave to cool. When the onions are cool, add the remaining stuffing ingredients and mix together. Leave on one side until needed.






100g sourdough bread, torn in pieces, toasted
100g shelled pistachio nuts, peeled
100g pork scratchings
50g dried cranberries
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1 orange


I followed Tom’s list, but replaced the sour dough with wholemeal breadcrumbs and used 50g pistachios and 50 cashew nuts.

METHOD: To make the crumble topping, mix the toasted sourdough pieces, pistachio nuts, pork scratchings, dried cranberries and thyme leaves together. Break everything up with your fingers until they are all the same size. Leave to one side.




1. Begin by unrolling it and opening it like a book, smooth side down. Cover the surface with cling film and bash it with a rolling pin into a rough square, 1-1½cm thick. Spread a ½cm layer of the stuffing mix on to the turkey breast and then tightly roll it up, like a Swiss roll. Wrap it in cling film as tightly as you can, then use kitchen string to tie the ends and to secure the roll in a couple of places to keep its shape. Place the turkey roll into the fridge until needed. (All of this applied to my turkey breast, too). You will have more stuffing mix than you will use for the turkey, but do not throw it away. It will be roasted separately. Cover and keep it in the fridge.






2. When you’re finally ready to cook the turkey, preheat the oven to 120C/Gas ½. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and pour 400ml boiling water into a roasting tray. Put a wire rack in the tray and place the still-wrapped turkey roll on the rack. Place the tray in the oven and roast the turkey for 1½ hours, or until an instant-read thermometer stuck into the centre of the turkey reads 70C. Once the correct internal temperature has been reached, remove it from the oven and leave it to rest, still wrapped in cling film, for 45 minutes. (I followed this method and cooking time and temperature for the turkey breast, too).


3. Do not turn the oven off. Meanwhile, line a flameproof bowl with the bacon rashers, with plenty of overhang. Add the remaining stuffing, pressing it down, and wrap the bacon ends over the top. Place the bowl in the oven about 15 minutes before the turkey should finish cooking and bake the stuffing for 45 minutes, or until it reaches 70C on your thermometer. Remove the bowl from the oven and put to one side until just before the turkey finishes resting.




4. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium. When you’re getting ready to serve, place the bowl with the stuffing under the grill for eight to 10 minutes until the top is crispy.

5. After the turkey has rested for 30 minutes, unwrap it and brush a thick layer of the brown sauce (I used HP, but you could make Tom’s – scroll down for recipe) over the top.

6. Press the Christmas crumble mix all over and instantly grate over the orange zest to release the oil.

7. Slice the turkey and serve with the gravy and stuffing.




SERVE WITH…Roast potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips, and Brussels sprouts.



250g pitted dates, finely chopped
2 Granny Smith apples
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated
200g soft dark brown sugar
150ml Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
150ml red wine vinegar

1. To make the brown sauce, put the dates into a heatproof bowl. Peel the apples and grate them on a coarse cheese grater directly into the bowl, then mix in the ground spices and leave the bowl to one side.

2. Put the sugar and both vinegars into a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mix on to the dates and apples, then cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to cool at room temperature. The dates will absorb some liquid and become soft.

3. Pour this mix into a heavy-based saucepan over a very low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t catch on the base, for 11/2 hours, or until soft and pulpy.

4. Transfer the date and apple mix to a blender and blend until it is smooth. Pass it through a fine sieve into a bowl, then leave to cool completely. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator until needed, or for up to 2 months.


FOR THE STOCK BASE:  Makes about 7.5 litres

1kg chicken wings 2 pigs’ trotters, cut in half lengthways
1kg chicken carcass, chopped
4 celery sticks, cut in half
1 head of garlic, unpeeled but cut in half through the equator
1 onion, chopped
200g canned tomatoes
10 litres water

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Put the chicken wings in a roasting tray and roast for about 30 minutes until dark golden brown. Make sure they don’t burn. Transfer them to a large saucepan.

2. Add the trotters, carcass and the vegetables. Pour in the canned tomatoes and the water, and bring to the boil, skimming the surface as necessary. Reduce the heat to very low and leave the stock to simmer, uncovered, for 6-8 hours, until reduced by one quarter. Pass through a fine sieve lined with muslin or a tea towel. Leave to cool completely, then transfer to the fridge for 12 hours so any fat will set and can be removed.

3. This chicken base is now ready to use in any recipe that calls for chicken stock, or it can be reduced down to use as a sauce. It will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge or can be frozen for up to 3 months. Up to two days in advance, begin the gravy.

4. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place the turkey bones and turkey wings in the tray and roast them for 30-40 minutes until they are dark brown, but not burnt.

5. Transfer the bones and turkey wings to a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the brown chicken stock, mushrooms, shallots and celery and bring to the boil, using a large metal spoon to skim the surface, as necessary.

6. Turn the heat down to very low and leave the stock to simmer, uncovered, for four hours, or until it is reduced by one third. Turn the heat off, add the thyme leaves and leave to infuse, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

7. Pass the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl, then leave to cool completely. Cover and place in the fridge for 12 hours so the fat can set on the top and be removed easily.



2kg turkey bones, chopped – get these from your butcher
2 turkey wings, chopped
3½ litres chicken stock (see above)
150g button mushrooms, wiped, trimmed and sliced
4 banana shallots, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
10 sprigs of thyme
50g butter, melted
50g plain white flour
Salt and pepper

8. When you’re ready to finish the gravy, remove and discard the fat. Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix the melted butter and flour together to make a paste.

9. Add this mix into the boiling liquid, little by little, whisking constantly and vigorously until the gravy thickens. Season, then pass the gravy though a sieve lined with muslin. It’s now ready to serve. Leave it on one side until needed.


Filed under Poultry, Recipe Shed

20 Responses to Tom Kerridge’s Christmas Turkey Roll with Sage & Onion Stuffing (adapted for Turkey Breast)

  1. that looks amazing! weird about wrapping it in clingfilm but it seems to work. The best thing I bought was a meat thermometer, no more dry meat!

  2. Hannah

    Hi there,
    watched Tom K make this the other day on TV- still confused about cooking with clingfilm – read several articles saying do not use in oven, was it a specific cling film that you used please? and was this in a conventional oven? Keen to make on Christmas day but really don’t want to ruin Christmas!
    Your dish looks yum!

    • keithkendrick

      Hi. I had the same reservations you had, but I’ve cooked Tom’s recipes before and they turned out great so I decided to trust the big man. I used Tesco clingflim, which says on the packaging ‘not for use in conventional ovens’ so I was worried that it was a disaster waiting to happen. Anyway, I wrapped the turkey with three layers of clingfilm (to make it super secure to avoid leakage), then put it in the oven at the suggested temperature, using an oven thermometer to make sure it was exactly 120C (because ovens can vary). And to my delight – and a certain amount of amazement – the clingfilm didn’t melt or burnt and stayed intact. I inserted a meat probe to check the turkey was the correct temperature inside (70C) and it was. And when I finally unwrapped the bird it had released loads of juice which I whisked into the gravy. The meat itself was incredibly juicy and full of flavour. Would I attempt this on Christmas Day when the stakes are so high? I would now – but only because I’ve done a less high profile dress rehearsal. There are so many stages and processes and things could go awry. If you are going to do it, follow Tom’s instructions to the letter. I did (give or take my shortcuts), and the results were amazing.

  3. keithkendrick

    Not sure how to!!! Email address comes up on all comments, including mine.

  4. NikkiT

    Hi There, Is it possible to make the stuffing early and then freeze it?

  5. I have never left a comment on any internet site before but am so delighted with the outcome of the recipes of Tom Kerridge for this Christmas that I felt I had to record this. I cooked his stuffed Turkey breast with side of smoked bacon, stuffing bake and whole carrot followed by orange cake Christmas pudding ice cream and plum sauce.The reaction from the ten people that we fed was incredible.They all lived the food and are still talking about it.My son and I cooked together and though the whole thing did take us some time it was well worth it and I now know what I can do further in advance next time,…and there will be a next time

    • keithkendrick

      I’m delighted. A friend gave me Tom’s cookbook for Christmas and it is full of amazing recipes. Thanks for taking the time to feedback.

  6. AndyGBarton

    Toms recipes are amazing.

  7. I need the recipe for the pork roll too, please!

  8. Amado

    Thanks for this excellent walk-through. I did some things differently.

    1. Removed skin
    2. Butterflied breast
    3. Pounded
    4. Replaced skin and roasted with a cheesecloth slathered in butter

  9. steve

    going to try this method this Christmas. fingers crossed. as tom would say “it looks lush”.

  10. George Barrie

    I tried the turkey recipe , and to be honest 80 mins into the cooking I was a bit worried as it looked raw and according to the instructions it only had 10 mins to go , I tested the temperature and I was a good bit short , so I persevered and left it in the oven checking it regularly , eventually it reached the required temperature and I rested it for 45 mins and cut through the lot cling film and turkey just to see what it was like , Brilliant absolutely brilliant . I think a wee tip it to leave it in the cling film overnight and crave and gently heat the next day , it stays nice and firm and doesn’t lose its shape !
    Thanks Tom.

  11. Karen Clark

    I followed this recipe to the letter – except the herbs, i put a whole mix of sage, thyme, rosemary and some mixed – this is a fantastic recipe and everyone loved it. The clingfilm works!