A simple recipe for turkey and all the trimmings, including pigs in blankets and stuffing balls. Don’t forget to use our turkey timer to calculate the cooking time of your turkey.
Serves: 8 – 10
Skill level: Master chef
Costs:Splashing out


  • 5-6kg (11-13lb) British turkey, giblets removed and reserved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • A few sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 large lemon
  • Good pinch of saffron threads (about ½tsp)
  • 60g (2oz) butter, melted
  • 1tbsp clear honey
  • 500g (1lb) stuffing

For serving

  • 8 rashers streaky bacon, stretched and halved
  • 16 cocktail sausages
  • 10-12 shallots, unpeeled
  • Bay leaves and sprigs of parsley, to garnish
  • Metal or bamboo skewers, or cocktail sticks

You’ll also need

  • A large roasting tin
  • Zester


  1. Wash and dry or wipe the turkey, check for feathers and remove any with tweezers. Lift the skin that covers the neck opening, then spoon the stuffing inside, packing it well. Pull the skin back round underneath the turkey and secure tightly with metal or bamboo skewers, or cocktail sticks.
  2. Set the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Put the turkey giblets in roasting tin, then place turkey on top, balancing the neck end with the stuffing inside, on the neck bone. Put the onion inside the cavity with some sprigs of thyme.
  3. Take the zest off the lemon with a zester. Set aside in a small bowl, covered, for garnish later. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice from one of the halves all over the turkey breast and legs. Pour the juice from the other half of the lemon into a small bowl and add the saffron. Mix together and set aside. Put both squeezed lemon-half shells inside the turkey.
  4. Calculate the cooking time: The weight of the turkey, plus weight of the stuffing inside; allow 40 min per kg (or 20 mins per 1lb).
  5. Beat the saffron mixture into the melted butter and brush half of it over the turkey. Pour 600ml (1 pint) hot water into the roasting tin and roast the turkey, near the bottom of the oven, for 1 hr. Shape the rest of the stuffing into balls (or put in a dish) and chill for cooking later.
  6. After cooking for 1hr, brush the turkey with half the rest of the saffron butter, cover it loosely with foil and keep on roasting the turkey until 15 mins before the calculated cooking time is up.
  7. Mix the honey into the last of the saffron butter, brush over the turkey and cook for another 15 mins, uncovered, until it is golden. Push a skewer into the thickest part of one of the thighs and if the juices run clear, the bird is cooked; if not, cook for another 20 mins and test again.
  8. To cook the sausages in bacon and stuffing balls: Stretch the bacon rashers with the back of a knife, cut each one in half horizontally and roll each piece around a sausage. Put them on a baking tray with the stuffing balls. Bake them, above the turkey, for 30-40 mins, turning them occasionally. Cook the shallots on the baking tray with the roast potatoes for the last ½ hr.
  9. Transfer the turkey to a hot platter, cover with foil or a clean tea-towel, and allow to rest for 20-30 mins. Use the juices to make the gravy. Surround the turkey with the sausages in bacon, shallots and stuffing balls, and garnish with bay leaves and parsley. Sprinkle with the reserved lemon zest.

Nutritional information per portion

fat 17.0g calories 336(kcal)

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.