Whole Turkey With Bacon, Onion & Sage Stuffing

Turkey is a classic centerpiece of any Christmas menu and with its succulent finish and flavourful port gravy, this classic recipe is sure to impress. 

For all entertainers, the pressure is on to present a deliciously tender turkey for everyone to enjoy. To make Christmas entertaining easier, visit one of our Peter Augustus stores, where our free range turkeys include your choice of delicious house-made stuffing options.

Prep time: 1 hour 

Cook time: 3 hours 

Serves: 12 


Bacon, onion and sage stuffing 

  • 50 g butter 
  • 4 bacon rashers, chopped 
  • 1 brown onion, chopped 
  • 2 trimmed celery sticks, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped 
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves 
  • 4 cups stale breadcrumbs 
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly 

Pro tip: To save time on Christmas day and guarantee a delicious flavour, why not try our very own pre-prepared sage and onion stuffing, available at our Peter Augustus stores? 

Whole turkey 

  • 5 kg turkey 
  • 50 cm x 50 cm muslin square 
  • 125 g butter, melted 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp sea salt 
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 

Port gravy 

  • 40 g butter 
  • 1 medium brown onion, chopped 
  • 1 trimmed celery stick, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • ¼ cup plain flour 
  • ¼ cup port 
  • 2 ¼ cup chicken stock, approx 


Step 1 

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). 

Step 2 

Meanwhile, make the bacon, onion and sage stuffing. Heat your butter in a large frying pan, and cook the bacon until browned. Add the onion and celery; stirring occasionally until soft. Leave it to cool for 10 mins, then combine the onion mixture, herbs, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and ground black pepper in a large bowl and mix well. 

Step 3 

Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water, before patting it dry with absorbent paper. Fill the large cavity with seasoning; tie the legs together with string; fill the neck cavity with stuffing; and use toothpicks to secure the skin over the opening. 

Step 4 

Tuck the wing tips under the turkey, and place it on an oiled wire rack in a flameproof baking dish. Dip the muslin in the melted butter; place the muslin over the turkey; and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake the turkey for two hours. 

Step 5 

Remove the foil and muslin from the turkey, and brush with the pan juices and olive oil. Bake the turkey, uncovered, for another hour, or until it’s browned and cooked through. 

To check if your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer sideways into the thickest part of the thigh. Then remove the skewer and press the flesh, releasing the juices – if the juices are clear, the turkey is cooked. 

Alternatively, you can insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, and avoid touching the bone. If the turkey’s cooked, the temperature should read 90°C. (You can also test the stuffing – it should read at least 75°C.) 

Once the turkey’s cooked, remove it from the baking dish, sprinkle it with salt and thyme, cover it with foil, and let it stand for 20 mins.

Step 6 

If you don’t want to serve the turkey with port gravy, skip to Step 8. If you do want to serve it with port gravy, drain the pan juices from the dish into a large jug. Then skim the fat from the top of the juices and discard it. 

Step 7

Place the same flameproof baking dish you cooked the turkey in over a medium heat, melt your butter in the dish, and cook the onion, celery and garlic, stirring until soft. Then stir in the flour and cook it until it’s well browned. Remove the flameproof dish from the heat, stir in your port, and then return it to the heat. 

Gradually stir in the pan juices you put aside earlier, as well as your chicken stock. Cook until the mixture boils and thickens, stirring occasionally, and then strain the gravy into a large jug. 

Step 8

Serve the turkey (with the port gravy, if you choose)! 

Pop into one of our Peter Augustus stores today to organise your Christmas standing turkey, or order online

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