Cooking with Anna

My Grandmother’s Roast Turkey Recipe

 Turkey Preparation

Christmas time is always the time for eating drinking & carving the turkey!!!!! I am sure you have all had a turkey roasting in the oven with loving care & only to complete the roast & find that your turkey is dry!!!!ugh!!!! Well, my grandmother was the turkey queen… now now don’t be cheeky.. the flesh was so tender & juicy you would have thought she steamed the turkey not bake. We always had the turkey with gorgeous round & crisp potatoes, shapely pumpkin pieces, fresh peas that my grand father painstakingly podded for her ( half the time he ate too many & had a sore tummy), the stuffing was so soft you only wanted to eat the stuffing with her luscious gravy. Then the peace de la resistants!!! The meat with the skin so juicy, so soft & above all the flavor was magnificent.  Enough let’s start to cook.

Here is My grandmother’s step by step guide to preparing & roasting a juicy turkey. Basically I am writing this how she taught me with a few adjustments.


1 x  turkey large enough for the whole family plus 10 more people. (Yes that is how she cooked)

250g to 500g butter softened (depends on the size of the turkey & how brave you are with butter) I say it is Christmas & not worry approximately the bravery just go for it.

Salt for seasoning.

The stuffing depending on the size of your turkey my grandmother usually used half a loaf of two day old bread, soaked in water,  squeezed 2/3 of the water out of the bread, then browned 2 diced onions in butter, add the bread,  add half a cup of macadamia nut pieces,  half a cup of melted butter. Mix all together & stuff the turkey (really I mean fill the turkey how cheeky!!!) My tip is to add ½ cup of Cranberry Sauce to the mixture & more if required. I usually make the stuffing just before I am baking the turkey, Generally it is a matter of preference. When we bake at home, we sometimes use 2 cups of cranberry & pomegranate juice in the pan along with the water the flavour is quite luscious.

To buy fresh or frozen? The choice is based on your lifestyle & preferences. Sometimes fresh just is not suitable due to time restraints, “rush hour”, & life commitments. My advice when choosing a Turkey, make sure that the Turkey is a Brand that has Ethical Farming practices.


I always choose  a turkey that has plump legs, & is fat. I find the Turkey that looks a little anorexic does not have enough flavor & dries out very quickly whilst roasting.  

  1. Preheat a conventional oven to 180°C or Fan forced 160°C
  2. When your turkey is thawed, carefully remove all the packaging.
  3. Remove the neck from the cavity. ( you can roast the neck & use the juices for a satisfactory gravy)
  4.  Rinse thoroughly inside & out & pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Place knobs of butter under the skin as far as you can insert the butter topside & bottom side. 
  6. Stuff the turkey leaving enough room for the stuffing to expand.
  7. Cross the legs over each other & tie with cooking twine.
  8. If there is a skin flap, tuck it neatly under the bird.
  9. Fold the wings back & tuck under.
  10. Line the pan with baking paper to prevent the turkey from sticking to the pan.
  11. Use foil to protect the hock ends, wings & the breast to ensure the bird doesn’t brown too quickly.
  12. Place the turkey breast side up in the roasting dish add some butter & three cups of boiling water.
  13. Bake for approximately 45minutes per kilo.
  14. 30 minutes before the calculated cooking time is completed remove the turkey from the oven.
  15. Remove foil from the breast area & pierce the skin several times to allow self basting & browning. Return to oven.
  16. Once the baking time is reached, take the turkey out of the oven & test whether it is cooked. ( my grandmother just looked at the turkey & knew by the aroma if the turkey was cooked – admittedly that is how I cook my Turkey).
  17. Check using a meat thermometer. Place the thermometer into the deepest part of the bird & the internal temperate should be 82°C. Another tip is the turkey is fully cooked when the juices run clear.
  18. If it is fully cooked, transfer the turkey to a carving platter. Cover with foil & allow to stand for twenty minutes.
  19.  As oven temperatures vary, you may need to adjust cooking times accordingly.
  20. I suggest you use a meat thermometer as it is the best way to ensure your turkey is perfectly cooked.
  21. The key to a satisfactory soft turkey is the stuffing & the butter under the skin along with a slow baking & covered with alfoil.

 Serving Suggesetions:

  • Serve with roasted smashed spuds, warm Brussel Sprout & roasted chestnut salad, Glazed Carrots, Chargrilled parsnips, diced roasted pumpkin, and condiments. The most traditional condiment is the Cranberry Sauce or Cumberland sauce.
  • Though let us be extravagant & use the whole lot so everyone has a choice of condiments & sauces.
  • To make the gravy, it is quite ok to use a Gravox mix though I would suggest to use the juices from the baking dish. Admittedly, a satisfactory gravy is always made using our grandmother’s method.
  • Enjoy & have pleasant cooking.!!!!!!! I would be delighted to learn of your success!!

closeup of christmas turkey




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