Christmas Turkey

  • 2 days for thawing the turkey, 12 hours for marinating it

     3-3:30 hours for cooking a 4 kg turkey

    Preparation Time

  •   Moderate

    Difficulty Level

  • 6-8


Despite the fact that the meat traditionally cooked at Christmas was the pork, turkey has now taken that place at the Christmas table. In order for the turkey to be delicious and juicy, there are some secrets. The first step is the proper thawing of the turkey which must be done in the fridge. Calculate that every kilo of turkey takes about 10 hours to thaw. So, if you have a 4 kg turkey, you should take it out of the freezer and store it in the fridge two days before cooking it. The second step is marinating the turkey in brine, which ensures that its meat will be very juicy. And, lastly, there is the stuffing which must be mild in flavor, not overshadowing the turkey, but rather completing it. When it comes to cooking, every kilo of turkey takes 35-45 minutes to be cooked. Most turkeys come with a pop-up timer which shows when the turkey is fully cooked and has reached the ideal temperature. But, if you buy a turkey that doesn’t have a pop-up timer, do the following: after 2:30 hours of cooking, pierce the turkey’s breast with a stick. If the liquid is transparent, the turkey is ready. If it’s pink, the turkey needs more cooking. Turkey is a dish that cannot be cooked ahead of time. Thus, it would be better if is ready 30 minutes before serving it, so that it has time to “rest”, without losing its juices.



  • 1 frozen turkey, about 4 kg
  • 4 lt water
  • 200 gr coarse salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 20 peppercorns Sunspices
  • 50-60 gr butter at room temperature
  • Carino chicken seasoning Sunspices
  • 2 glasses of water

For the stuffing

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 100 gr butter
  • 300 gr bread crumbs
  • 200 gr dried apricots, chopped
  • 100 gr dried plums, chopped
  • 300 gr boiled chestnuts, chopped
  • 50 gr pine nuts
  • 2 tsp dried thyme Sunspices
  • Salt, pepper

For the gravy sauce

  • The liquids from the pan
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Warm chicken or beef broth


  1. For the stuffing (30’ before putting the turkey in the oven): We soak the bread crumbs in about 4 tbsp water. In a frying pan we melt the butter. When melted, we add the chopped onions and let them caramelize, for about 5-7’, occasionally stirring. We add the chestnuts and we sauté them for about 5’. Then, we add the apricots and the plums and we cook them for about 3’. We transfer the mixture of the pan to the bowl with the bread crumps. In the same frying pan, we lightly toast the pine nuts and add them in the bowl. We add the thyme, we season with salt and pepper and mix very well. We leave it aside.
  2. For the turkey: A) After the turkey is completely thawed, before cooking it, we have to marinade it for 12 hours. Therefore, this step should happen the night before cooking the turkey. We put the now thawed turkey in a bowl that will fit it. In a saucepan, we put the 4lt water, the salt, the bay leaves, and the peppercorns and bring them to a boil. We let the liquid completely cool. When cooled, we pour the brine over the turkey, we cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it in the fridge for 12 hours.
  3. B) The next morning, about 4 hours before lunch or dinner, we remove the turkey from the brine and pat it try using paper towels. We preheat the oven to 220C/430F. We put the turkey in a large pan, with its breast upwards. We rub the butter under the breast’s skin, being careful not to tear it.  We rub any leftover butter under the thighs’ skin. We fill the turkey with the stuffing and we tie the turkey’s legs together using cooking string. We sprinkle the Carino chicken seasoning over the turkey. We put then pan in the oven and we cook at 220C/430F for 10’. Then we lower it to 200C/390F and we cook for another 30’. Finally, we lower to 180C/350F and we cook for about 2:30-3 hours until the turkey is thoroughly cooked, checking with the abovementioned way. If, during the cooking process, we see the turkey’s skin browning fast, we cover the pan with aluminum foil. When cooked, we remove the pan from the oven, we transfer the turkey to a large plate or pan and we cover it with aluminum foil. We let it rest for 30’, so that it can absorb its juices.
  4. For the gravy sauce: We strain the liquids from the pan into a saucepan. Using a spoon, we make sure that we scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan and add them to the saucepan. We heat the sauce on medium-high heat. We add the flour and we stir, until the sauce thickens. We gradually add broth, stirring, until we achieve the texture and the consistency that we want.
  5. For serving: We transfer the stuffing to a nice bowl. We slice the turkey into serving sizes and transfer it to a plate. We pour the sauce into a gravy boat and put it in the center of the table. Turkey is perfectly accompanied by red wine.

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