Maple turkey, stuffing and gravy

For a traditional Christmas turkey recipe with a tasty twist, try soaking it first in maple syrup and getting the cooking time bang on

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Maple roast turkey recipe - Christmas turkey recipes - Food and UK recipes -

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  • 6.3kg  oven-ready turkey, giblets removed handful of parsley stalks
  • 1  orange, halved
  • 1  onion, halved
  • 175g  butter, softened
  • 5  litres water
  • 150g  salt
  • 1 tablespoon  black peppercorns
  • 1½ tablespoons  juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons  allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon  white mustard seeds
  • 150ml  apple juice
  • 300ml  maple syrup
  • 8  sprigs thyme
  • 4  bay leaves
  • 1  bottle fruity white wine
  • 100g  butter
  • 2  large onions, finely chopped
  • 2  sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 3  garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2  teaspoons mixed spice
  • 275g  breadcrumbs
  • 1  cooking apple, finely chopped
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges and juice of ½ orange
  • 2  large eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons  flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 200g  watercress, roughly chopped
  • 125ml  cider
  • 850ml  well-flavoured chicken stock


  1. To make the brine, put 1 litre of the water in a pan with all the other brine ingredients, except the wine. Gently heat, stirring to help the salt and maple syrup dissolve. When cool, pour into a bucket or other plastic container large enough to hold the turkey (and brine) and add the rest of the water along with the wine.
  2. Put the turkey into the brine, ensuring it is completely submerged, and cover. Leave it somewhere cold for 24 hours.
  3. Take the turkey out of the brine and dry it thoroughly with kitchen paper. Leave it to dry at room temperature for an hour.

  4. To make the stuffing, melt the butter and sauté the onion and celery until soft and pale golden. Add the garlic and spice and cook for another minute. Tip into a bowl and add the remaining stuffing ingredients. Season and put into an ovenproof dish.
  5. Heat the oven to 220ºC (200ºC fan oven) gas mark 7. Season inside the turkey and put the parsley stalks, orange and onion inside the cavity. Place a long, wide sheet of foil in a roasting tin, then lay another sheet at right angles. Set the turkey on top and rub with butter. Season well, then pull the foil around the turkey to make a ‘tent (leaving plenty of room between the top of the bird and the foil) and seal the edges. Roast for 40 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170ºC (150ºC fan oven) gas mark 3 and cook for 3½ hours, basting regularly.
  6. Turn up the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan oven) gas mark 6, uncover the turkey and cook for 35-40 minutes. To check the turkey is cooked through, pierce the leg with a sharp knife – the juices should run clear.
  7. Half an hour before the turkey is ready, cover the dish of stuffing with foil. Cook in the oven for 40-50 minutes, uncovering it for the last 15 minutes.

  8. Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and cover with a double layer of foil and a couple of tea towels. Leave to stand in a warm place for at least 30 minutes. Pour the turkey juices from the roasting pan into a bowl or jug. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then skim off the fat. Put the roasting pan back on the hob and deglaze with the cider. Reduce the alcohol by half, add the chicken stock and the skimmed turkey juices, and boil until lightly syrupy. Serve with the stuffing and the gravy.


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