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Originally published on April 3, 2009.

I get a bag full of e-mails around the holiday season asking questions about turkey, stuffing and side dishes. Here is my most requested turkey recipe with a few little changes and a new stuffing recipe. I have also included a spectacular roast beef recipe - another reader favourite. Have a superb holiday meal!


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This method for roasting differs from others because it is started on a high heat. The turkey is fully cooked when an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 F.

What you need

  • 1 14-pound turkey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground
  • pepper
  • Stuffing of your choice

What you do

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Bring the bird to room temperature, stuff and truss.

Place on a rack over a roasting pan and rub skin with butter, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes a pound for the first 10 pounds and 7 minutes a pound for the each succeeding one. Add an extra pound for the stuffing.

After one hour, turn heat to 350 F. Baste every half-hour if you remember.

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Remove from oven when ready and let sit on a carving board, loosely covered with a tea towel, for 15 minutes. While it sits, make the gravy. Serves 8.


There are people who like their turkey with gravy and people who like it without. I am part of the former school and I always make lots of gravy. This is the simplest sauce to make for the turkey.

What you need

  • Fat and pan drippings from roast turkey
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • ¼ cup port
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce or red currant jelly
  • Salt and freshly ground
  • pepper

What you do

Drain fat and pan drippings into a measuring cup. Add 3 tablespoons fat back into roasting pan. Skim fat from remaining drippings.

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Sprinkle flour over fat in roasting pan. On medium heat, stir together until flour is browned.

Stir in stock, drippings and port, scraping up any bits on base of pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in red currant jelly and simmer 5 minutes longer. Season before serving.


If using fresh chestnuts takes too much time, buy a can of unsweetened chestnuts or chestnut purée and use about 1 cup.

What you need

  • 1 pound chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil or parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground
  • pepper

What you do

Score chestnuts with a cross on the rounded side. Place in a pot of cold water and bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes to soften skin. Remove from heat, drain and peel off skins. Finely chop chestnuts.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté 3 minutes or until softened.

Combine chestnuts, onions, breadcrumbs, chervil and egg in a bowl. If stuffing is too dry, add a little stock or water.

Season with salt and pepper and stuff into turkey neck or bake separately in a greased baking dish for 1 hour.


We held a taste test for meat roasted at both a high heat and a low heat. The high-heat method (the one that follows) gave a more succulent end result, but the low heat method gave a more evenly coloured roast. For low heat, start at 400 F for 20 minutes then lower heat to 325 F for the remainder of the time. Let the roast stand for 20 minutes before carving. Use this time to make the gravy.

What you need


  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped
  • fresh rosemary or thyme,
  • or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 7-pound standing rib roast

Pan Gravy:

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped
  • shallots
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste

What you do

Combine mustard, olive oil, garlic, parsley, pepper, soy sauce and thyme in a bowl. Brush over roast. Let sit for 2 hours or overnight, refrigerated.

Allow approximately 15 minutes to the pound for rare roast beef.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Turn on broiler. Place roast on a rack in a roasting pan and broil for about 4 minutes. Turn off broiler and continue to bake at 450 F for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 F and bake another 1½ hours more or until desired degree of doneness.

Remove roast to carving board and let rest for 20 minutes.

Prepare pan gravy using the method above.

Sauté shallots in pan drippings and stir in remaining ingredients.

Cut strings from roast and remove from bones. Carve into thin slices.

Tip: Broiling the roast for a few minutes before roasting gives lots of crispy fat and makes the first few slices more well done than the centre, useful if some guests like their beef well done.

Using an instant-read thermometer takes the challenge out of knowing when your roast is done. 120 F for rare roast; 125 F to 130 F for medium-rare; 135 F to 140 F for medium.

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