Turkey crown and legs with chestnut stuffing


The pears and apricots in this chestnut stuffing provide sweetness, flavour and moistness. Ask a butcher to crown the turkey and bone out the legs.


  • 1 5.5kg/12lb turkey, split into crown and boned legs, fully thawed if frozen
  • 100g/3½oz softened butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing

For the gravy


  1. The day before you want to cook the turkey, put it on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Refrigerate it overnight, covered, ensuring the juices don't drip onto other foods in your fridge.

  2. The day you want to cook the turkey, pat it dry with kitchen paper. Leave it to stand for an hour to return to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

  3. Meanwhile, to make the stuffing, heat the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Leave it to cool to room temperature.

  4. Put the sausagemeat and all the remaining stuffing ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the onion and stir well.

  5. Lay out the boned legs, skin-side down. Put a handful of the stuffing in the centre of the thickest part of each leg, then wrap the sides around it. When placed cut-side down it will look like a short, fat drumstick. Stuff the turkey crown with the rest of the stuffing, being careful not to pack it in.

  6. Weigh the stuffed crown and make a note of the weight. Place the crown in a roasting tray. Smear most of the butter over the breasts, reserving a little for the legs. Cover the tray with kitchen foil.

  7. Work out the cooking time; it will be 15 minutes per kg/2lb 4oz, plus 90 minutes (for example for a 3kg/6lb 8oz crown including the stuffing it will be 2¼ hours). Smear the butter over the legs and add them 45 minutes before the end of the cooking time, removing the foil at the same time so the skin can brown and crisp.

  8. To check whether the turkey is cooked, use a meat or probe thermometer – the thickest part of the meat and the stuffing should register 71C/160F. The juices should also run clear when the thickest part of the turkey is pierced with a skewer.

  9. Put the crown and legs on a warmed platter to rest.

  10. Meanwhile, to make the gravy, strain off all the liquid from the roasting tin. Sprinkle the tin with the flour and set over a medium heat. Stir until the flour has picked up most of the sediment from the bottom of the tin. Add some of the stock and stir until you have deglazed the tin.

  11. Transfer the gravy to a saucepan. Stir in any remaining stock and the wine. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

  12. Carve the crown and legs into slices and serve with the gravy.

Recipe Tips

You can make the stuffing in advance and chill it in the fridge, but it needs to return to room temperature before stuffing the bird and cooking. The turkey wings and leg bones can be used to make turkey stock.