Stuffing and Gravy from Tristan Welch's Mum

Tristan opens up the tastes of his family home with this delicious dinner.

  • Preparation Time40 mins
  • Cooking Time80 mins
  • DifficultyEasy

For the stuffing

250g breadcrumbs
1 stick of celery, washed and roughly diced
2 onions, finely chopped
2 apples, peeled and roughly diced
2 whole eggs
60g soft butter, plus a little extra for cooking
1 bunch rosemary, picked, keeping 2 nice branches for presentation
½ bunch parsley

For the gravy

1 large onion, peeled and cut in quarters
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in four
2 sticks of celery, washed and cut in four
1 bay leaf
250ml white wine
1 tsp tomato puree
Chicken or turkey stock to cover

Tristan's Turkey Tips:

The best way to cook a five kilogram turkey is from a cold oven. Using this technique will take a minimum of four hours but it’s worth the wait!

Always take care to check that the turkey is cooked properly. You can do this by pushing a small knife or fork into the deepest part of the meat; if the juices are clear then it is cooked, but if there is any trace of pink pop it back into the oven for another 20 minutes. After this, check again. We use a temperature probe - anything between 72-85°C will be cooked nicely.

To cook your turkey, pour over melted butter, ensuring that it has covered any exposed areas. Place in the cold oven which has just been switched on to 120°C / gas mark 1 for one hour, then turn up the oven to 130°C / gas mark 2 for an hour, then 150°C / gas mark 3 for an hour, then to 160°C / gas mark 4 for the last hour and a half.

When cooking the turkey like this it is very important that you baste the bird regularly, by pouring the cooking juices that have collected in the bottom of the oven tray back over the turkey. Try to do it least three times per hour.


To make a perfect stuffing cook the onion until soft and tender with a little butter, salt and pepper.

Add the cooked onion, apple, celery, parsley and half of the picked rosemary in a food processer. Using the pulse button blend until the vegetables are chopped quite fine but not a puree. Then add the bread crumbs, egg, softened butter and seasoning to taste, blend again using the same technique until the stuffing has bound together.


For a great gravy, it is important first to think about stock for the gravy. Remove the giblets from the turkey and separate them - you will only need the neck and heart, so discard the rest of what is left. Then take the wings off the turkey using a knife, and cut them off from the second joint down from the tip.

Chop and brown the turkey pieces with a little oil on a medium heat. When the pieces have browned and the base of the pan has spots of roasted juices stuck to it, add 100-200ml of water.

While still cooking on the stove, mix vigorously with a wooden spoon to remove all the caramelised spots on the base of the pan. Continue to reduce the water, constantly stirring until the pan is dry and the turkey pieces are frying again. Then repeat this process; this will bring out all the natural sugars and roasted flavours in the turkey.

When the turkey pieces are frying for the last time (after the second round of water) add the vegetables and let them colour in the pan. Once the vegetables are dark brown in colour, add tomato puree and mix in well. Then add the white wine and reduce by half (this should not take long).

Cover with chicken stock, add the herbs and simmer for an hour. Once simmered, pass through a sieve, cool and save until the turkey is cooked.

Once the turkey is cooked, take it from the oven tray and place on a serving plate in a warm place covered with tinfoil. Allow it to rest. Take the oven tray and pour off most of the excess fat from the juices that are left. Place the oven tray directly on the stove top, and reduce the liquid that’s left until almost dry. Remove from the heat, add a tablespoon of plain flour and mix well.

Place the oven tray back on the heat and cook the flour out for five minutes on a medium heat. While the flour is cooking, warm the stock. Gradually add the stock to the flour and meat juice mixture, while continuing to mix thoroughly with a whisk until the gravy has reached the desired consistency. Bring to the boil, season and pass through a sieve. Keep warm until required. (Note: if the gravy thickens too much, let down with more stock.)

Extra Turkey Tips:

When stuffing your turkey to ensure an even cooking place a silver (or solid metal spoon) in the centre of stuffed cavities.

To protect the breasts and keep them moist, spread a prune puree under the skin of the breasts then spread butter over the top of the bird. Alternatively, cover the breasts with tin-foil during cooking.

To ensure an even cooking and properly cooked legs, take them off the turkey and place back on the bird using bamboo skewers, allowing a very little space for heat to flow around evenly.

Turkey cooking time: 4 1/2 hours.

How to Prepare a Turkey by Tristan Welch

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