Turkey cropped

Well it’s been a while! Apologies for the lack of posts, it’s been a bit of a crazy few months. But I am back with yet more of my food and coffee adventures! And what better way to kick things off again than talking about Christmas and my Tom Kerridge Christmas dinner?

Well it’s been a while! Apologies for the lack of posts, it’s been a bit of a crazy few months. But I am back with yet more of my food and coffee adventures! And what better way to kick things off again than talking about Christmas and my Tom Kerridge Christmas dinner?

I have always been a big fan of Tom Kerridge, I think he is an awesome chef and seems like a really nice guy to boot. I have had his book for a few years and have dabbled with a few small recipes, but after watching his Christmas episode a few years back, I really wanted to try making his unusual, but amazing looking take on Christmas Turkey.


Last year I spent Christmas in Dubai (it’s a hard life) so this year I decided to go all out and attempt his recipe step by step. So for Christmas we had Turkey Roll with Christmas crumble topping and sage and onion stuffing. It was about 2 full days work, but I have to say it was well worth it. To start we need to go back to October (yes, really) when I started with the gravy – Vegetarians or Vegans, I suggest you look away now!

So to start off proceedings, I needed to create the stock that would be the base of the gravy. This was a 2 step process:

Firstly you make the chicken sauce stock base. To do this you take the bones from a chicken (nice excuse to have a roast chicken). You add to this a couple of pigs trotters (gross, but cheap!) some chicken wings, celery, garlic, chopped toms and then lots of water. I had to split this between the slow cooker and my biggest pan as it was about 7 litres of water.


This was cooked down for about 8 hours (making the house spell pretty interesting!) until it had reduced by about a third. This was then put in the fridge, where it set into a thick jelly ready for the next step – turning this into the brown chicken stock.

Pretty similar to the above, I then took the jelly and added 2 kilos of chicken wings, which is quite a lot!


This was then cooked down again for about another 8 hours, until again it had reduced by about a third and turned into a dark thick stock. So from 5 litres I ended up with about 2 litres of immense dark brown liquid, incredibly meaty and rich. This was frozen to be unleashed on Christmas day!


For anyone who might not know (and didn’t want to sit through the video above) his Christmas Turkey is basically a very large turkey roll, stuffed with sage and onion stuffing, rolled tightly, cooked and then topped with a homemade brown sauce (much nicer than it sounds) and then a crumb of pistachios, homemade pork scratchings and cranberries – it sounds as good as it tasted!

So, to start with I made the brown sauce. This was made from dates, oranges and some Christmas spices (nutmeg, allspice and ginger) and vinegar. All cooked down and then sieved to create an absolutely cracking thick brown sauce (way better than HP in my opinion) slightly spiced and fruity it worked so well with the turkey.

I had pre-ordered all my meat in November from my local butcher, including the 2kg turkey breast, a load of turkey bones and wings, as well as a load of game for the pie (in the next post). It was a very exciting morning!


I decided to get a jump on as much as possible on Christmas Eve, so after a nice pub lunch I hit the kitchen and didn’t surface until the evening – lot of fun though. The stuffing was first, mixing up cooked onions, sausage meat, sage, chestnuts, juniper berries and breadcrumbs.

After a bit of butchery to get the turkey flattened out as much as possible, I spread a layer of stuffing over the turkey and rolled this up into a massive sausage! A whole roll of clingfilm and butchers twine later I had this beauty ready to be cooked the next day – I was pleased with this, as it wasn’t an easy thing to do and best of all looked a lot like Tom’s when he did it!!


Once this was done and in the fridge, I turned my sights to finishing the gravy. Taking my beautiful stock, and a load of turkey bones and wings that I had roasted, I again cooked this all down for a few hours, added flour and butter to thicken, cooled and then sieved – creating what, for me, is the best gravy I have ever tasted, it was ridiculously good. Incredibly meaty, rich and with so much depth of flavour, it was (just about) worth all the work!!

Finally I made the pork scratchings to go on the top of the turkey. This was really simple. I picked up a couple of bits of skin from the butcher, soaked them in vinegar for 10 mins and then cooked them in the oven. After about 20 mins I had some cracking (excuse the pun) crackling, ready to be crumbled on top adding that all important range of textures (sorry – been watching Masterchef again!)

After knocking up a quick game pie, I finally hit the sofa with a glass of wine ready for the following day, when the fun really started!

First thing I did on Xmas day (after opening the presents and drinking a glass of champagne) was to knock up Tom’s Rye Bread sauce. Again, I know I keep on repeating this, but this really was the best bread sauce that I have tasted. A mixture of cream and milk was simmered with some Xmas spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice and then sieved. Rye breadcrumbs were mixed in to create a thick, creamy, spicy bead sauce complementing the turkey perfectly.

The turkey was put in the oven for about 2 hours (took about 30 mins longer than I thought) over a tray of water so it steamed rather than cooked, if you are taking this on I do suggest an insta-read thermometer so you can check if it is cooked, as you cook this in the clingfilm so have no way of telling it’s done. Once the thermometer hit 70 it was time to go. The turkey came out for 45 mins and I concentrated on all the other bits.

Alongside this wonderful turkey, as per the recipe I took the remaining stuffing and wrapped this up in some streaky bacon to make a stuffing parcel, which was then cooked in the oven. This not only looked great on the table but also meant I could squeeze even more bacon onto my plate!

Alongside this I knocked up the obligatory roast potatoes (cooked in a lot of goose fat), parsnips, brussels (sprouts and brussel tops) tossed in butter with some bacon and chestnuts and of course pigs in blankets. I also cooked Tom’s carrots, which are intense. These are cooked in a load of butter and star anise for about an hour. They are the tastiest (and most unhealthy) carrots you could imagine.

Once the turkey was rested for 30 mins, it was unwrapped and then smeared with the beautiful brown sauce and topped with the crumb, then some orange zest was grated on top and it was ready to go. Again, I was really chuffed as it looked pretty darn good (and really quite like his, even if I say so myself). Here are a few photos of it in all its glory (thanks to our neighbour Dave for these!)

IMG_2385Adding the finishing touches

IMG_2386The turkey in all it’s glory

IMG_2393Sprouts and those buttery carrots

IMG_2394Sausage meat wrapped in streaky bacon – delicious!

IMG_2395Months in the making – Tom Kerridge’s Xmas Dinner in all its glory!

It was a hell of an undertaking, but I am glad I did it – all the hard work did pay off and each individual bit tasted great. Turkey is usually just something you have to have and can be bland and dry, but this one was moist and so, so delicious, the crumb on top added a crunch and the orange zest on the top just added a lovely Christmassy citrus flavour. It was arguably better the next day with Bubble and Squeak once the flavours had really matured. Even my wife Jen, who hates to compare peoples cooking (well me vs her Mum’s anyway) said it was the best Christmas dinner she had ever had – Happy Days!

I probably wont do this next year as it is so much work, but I will make sure I always have his bread sauce and carrots with any roast and I will be knocking up more of his brown sauce this year. All these and the turkey recipe are in his book Proper Pub Grub (essential in any kitchen I would say!).

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Thanks Tom Kerridge – it were proper lush!