Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
Best Laid Plans

Panicking about Christmas dinner? These recipes for turkey and two tasty side dishes could be a lifesaver

The shops are still open – these simple recipes could yet save Christmas!

PERHAPS YOU’VE been landed with Christmas dinner responsibilities at the last minute - or maybe you’ve been struggling to get everything sorted in work up until now, and haven’t had the time to plan for tomorrow’s food?

Fear not – the shops are still open… There’s ample time to stock up on the festive basics.

Courtesy of Bord Bia, here’s an easy-to-follow recipe for roast turkey with thyme and onion stuffing.

And below, some directions for perfect roast potatoes – along with a brussels sprouts dish that brings a spicy twist to an old Christmas favourite.

Roast turkey with thyme and onion stuffing

Serves: 12 

Cooking time: 3.5 hours 

RoastTurkey-ThymeOnionStuffing Bord Bia Bord Bia


  • 7 kg turkey, oven ready
  • Salt, black pepper and a little flour
  • 2 tablesp. softened butter
  • 8 slices streaky bacon


  • 450g bread broken into pieces
  • 6 tablesp. fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablesp. fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 100g – 150g butter, softened


To make the stuffing: Place the bread, parsley, thyme and onion in a food processor. Process until you have fine breadcrumbs and the onion is finely chopped. Remove to a bowl, season and mix in the butter.

To stuff the turkey: Loosen the skin at the neck end with your hands. Pack the stuffing in, pushing it up between the flesh and the skin, but not too tightly because it will expand during cooking.

Tuck the neck flap under the bird’s back and secure with a cocktail stick. Any remaining stuffing can be cooked in a covered baking dish with the turkey. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time. Allow 30-40 minutes per kg. (Allow 20-30 mins per kg for turkeys weighing over 8kg). Place the turkey breast side up in an oiled roasting tin.

To cook the turkey:

Set the oven at Gas Mark 7, 220°C (450°F).

Season the turkey with salt and pepper and dust with a little flour. Rub all over with the butter, then lay the bacon slices on the breast, overlapping each other.

Cover the bacon with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper. This will keep the bacon in place. Wrap the turkey in foil and roast in the preset oven. After the first 30 minutes, reduce the heat to Gas Mark 3 (170°C or 325°F). Baste a couple of times during roasting. For the last half hour, remove the foil.

To check if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the leg, the juices should run clear.

When the turkey is cooked remove from the oven and transfer to a large plate. Reserve the cooking juices in the tin to make the gravy. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and allow to rest for half an hour in a warm place until you are ready to serve it.

shutterstock_417097879 Shutterstock / seeshooteatrepeat Shutterstock / seeshooteatrepeat / seeshooteatrepeat

Guide to good gravy:

A well flavoured stock is important, so a day ahead, place the giblets, some onion slices and a bay leaf in a saucepan. Cover with water, then simmer gently for 1.5 – 2 hours. Then strain and season.

After removing the turkey from the roasting tin, pour off the fat and leave behind the juices. Over a medium heat, stir in a tablespoon of flour. Blend well. Add a dash of wine. Continue to cook. Stir in the stock and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

A tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, cream or balsamic vinegar will also add to the flavour. Season to taste.

Perfect roast potatoes

spuds Bord Bia Bord Bia

The most important thing to remember for perfect potatoes is not to roast them too long in advance as they lose their crunch if you keep them waiting.

Start by par-boiling the peeled potatoes for approx. 5-6 minutes, depending on size. Drain well and set aside.

Set oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F). Heat some oil or fat from the turkey on the baking tray. Place the potatoes on the hot tray. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 40-50 minutes.

Shallots, roasted with the potatoes, are also delicious.

Brussels sprouts with chilli and lemon


  • 1 kg Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 tablesp. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

sprouts Bord Bia Bord Bia


Trim the sprouts and place in a saucepan of boiling salted water.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes depending on the size of the sprouts.  While they are cooking heat the oil in a pan and sauté the shallots, garlic and chilli for a couple of minutes over a medium heat.  They should be soft and not coloured.

When the sprouts are cooked drain them well, then stir through the shallots, garlic and chilli mixture along with a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and black pepper to taste.

Happy cooking! 

[All recipes via Bord Bia - you can find more in their Christmas Cookbook, viewable online here]

Read: Angelina Jolie wants Irish animation to give ‘strong message about empowerment’ >

Read: Popping the question: The right time to ask for a pay rise >


Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.