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Phil's annual turkey masterclass

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, there really is only one way to cook your Christmas Turkey - and that's the Phil Vickery way!He’s here with a masterclass to show you how to get it right this Christmas.

Phil's turkey masterclass

Serves 8-10


1 x 5 kg just under 12lb, bronze turkey, with giblets and the wish bone removed

Phil’s stuffing (recipe below)

2 large carrots, peeled

2 large onion, peeled

6 sticks of celery

1 leek

2 bay leaves

½ bottle dry white wine

2 pints cold water

2 chicken stock cubes 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

55g melted butter

2 tbsp roughly cornflour

4-6 tbsp cold water


1. Preheat the oven to Gas 6  / 200 °C / 180 °C Fan.

2. First job is to remove the giblets from the bird, and if you are using a frozen bird then make sure that it is fully defrosted. Season the bird well inside and out well with salt and pepper and pack the stuffing into the body cavity (stuffing recipe below). Tie the legs and the parson's nose together with a piece of string and secure well, so the stuffing is held inside the bird.

3. Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place in the bottom of a large baking tray place the turkey on top, the tray should be large enough so the bird has at least 2 inch (5cm) gap all around.

4. Pour in the white wine, cold water and chicken stock cube, and place the whole tray on to the stove.

5. Bring to the boil and cover tightly with two layers of foil and pop into a preheated oven. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT - simmer for 5 minutes, covered, to get the steam and heat going!

6. Cook the bird for about 2 hours, approximately. To check if the bird is cooked, remove from the oven carefully as there will be a lot of stock, wine and turkey juices. Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches itself to the body of the bird, the juices should run clear. If not, then cover again with foil and cook for a further 20 minutes

7. When the bird is cooked, remove from the oven, turn the oven up to Gas 8 / 230 °C / 210 °C Fan. Tip off the juices for the gravy, then brush the bird well with melted butter or oil and return to the oven to brown beautifully.

8. Once browned, remove from the oven and wrap in a double layer of foil then 2 clean tea towels, this should keep warm for up to 1 hour.

9. To serve - Re-boil the stock and juices, you may need to add a little more water in a saucepan and skim well.

Note - Please take turkey temps and times from: https://www.itv.com/thismorning/articles/how-to-cook-christmas-turkey-phil-vickery

Phil's retro stuffing

Serves 4


2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped

500g finely minced belly pork

200g chopped chicken liver (optional)

2 medium eggs

6-8 tbsp dried breadcrumbs or sage & onion stuffing mix

175g whole peeled vac packed chestnuts

2 tbsp chopped fresh sage


freshly milled black pepper

Method 3 ways: stuffed in bird, tightly rolled up like sausage in foil/cling (can roast day before) and slice, bake all in one tray


1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and cook for a few minutes until soft and translucent.

2. Place into a bowl and cool slightly, add the pork mince, liver if using, egg and enough breadcrumbs or stuffing mix to stiffen up the mixture, but remember that they will continue to thicken as they reconstitute themselves so take care not to add too many.

3. Finally add the chopped chestnuts, sage and salt and pepper.

4. Stuff the bird when required, or place into a baking tray, or roll tightly in foil to form a sausage.

5. Cook the tray or sausage for 35-40 minutes in a moderate oven 200C gas 6.

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