Jamie Oliver shares recipe for 'fail-safe' Christmas gravy

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Jamie Oliver is a British chef who often shares his quick and easy recipes with fans on both his website and social media pages. Jamie has prepared a wide selection of Christmas recipes, including a “flavour-packed golden turkey crown and stuffed legs”.

Described as “Jamie’s easy turkey”, the chef’s recipe is for beginner chefs or those who want to be able to whip up the Christmas centrepiece as quickly and easily as possible.

The dish serves 12 to 14 people and cooks in only two hours and 15 minutes, plus resting time.

Jamie said: “For many of us, Christmas dinner is all about the turkey.

“While a traditional roast is absolutely beautiful, this recipe is a fantastic opportunity to try something new.

“Get yourself a crown and ask your butcher to debone the legs – so you can simply stuff with my apricot and sausage stuffing, roll and cook both cuts to perfection in the same amount of time.

“This is a totally flexible, super easy way to get the most out of your bird, no matter how many people you’re feeding.”


Five metres of string

One x three kg higher-welfare turkey crown, with giblets (from a five kg turkey)

Two onions

Two sticks of celery

Two carrots

Two clementines

One bunch of fresh woody herbs, such as rosemary or sage (30g)

Six bay leaves

Apricot and sausage stuffing (500g)

Two x 500g higher-welfare turkey legs (ask your butcher to debone the legs)

Olive oil

Two tablespoons maple syrup or runny honey

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Jamie recommended doing all the preparation for the turkey on Christmas Eve, ready for the big day.

Check the main cavity for the bag of giblets, and if they’re in there, remove them and tip into a large roasting tray. The flavour they will add to your gravy will be incredible, according to Jamie.

Next, peel and quarter the onions, and roughly chop the rest of the veg, adding everything to the tray as you go. Halve and add the clementines, then throw in the woody herbs and bay leaves.

Fill the neck cavity with half of the stuffing, then pull the skin back over, tuck it under the bird, then place the turkey on top of the vegetable trivet.

Lay your deboned turkey legs skin-side down on a board.

Now, you’re aiming to create a flat rectangular surface area for stuffing.

Start by slicing away from you into the thickest part of the meat, then fold over and open it out flat, like a book.

Lay 16 x 30cm pieces of string on your chopping board in two sets of eight, making sure there is a 2cm gap in between each piece.

Place the turkey legs skin-side down on top of the string, ensuring there are eight pieces under each leg.

Pack the remaining stuffing into the middle of each leg, filling in any pockets left by the bones, then wrap the meat back over and tie it tightly with the string using a double-knot.

Transfer to a small roasting tray.

Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each of the legs and crown, and rub it into the meat, then cover both trays with tin foil and store in the fridge overnight.

On the day

Take your turkey trays out of the fridge an hour before they are due to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, or gas mark four and season the crown and legs with sea salt and black pepper.

As a guide, you want to cook a stuffed higher-welfare bird for 25 to 30 minutes per kilo, and a standard bird for 35 to 40 minutes per kilo.

If you have a three kg crown and two stuffed turkey legs, roast them for an hour and 30 minutes, basting several times with the lovely juices in the tray.

To check the meat is cooked, the simplest way is to stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh or breast – if the juices run clear, it’s done.

If you’re worried, you could also use a meat thermometer.

You need to reach an internal temperature of 65ºC for a top-quality bird, such as Paul Kelly’s turkeys, or 70ºC for a supermarket higher-welfare or standard bird.

Use heavy-duty tongs to lift up your bird so all the juices run from the cavity into the tray, then transfer the turkey to a platter, and brush the legs with the maple syrup or honey.

Cover with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel, then leave to rest for up to two hours while you crack on with everything else.

To see how you finish off your gravy, have a look at Jamie’s Chestnut gravy recipe.


To carve the legs, cut off the string and slice, at an angle, through the juicy leg meat.

For the crown, cut along the backbone with the length of your knife all the way down it until you hit the carcass.

You can then lift the whole breast off the bone.

Remove to a board and slice.

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