Michel Roux’s peppered turkey with ale sauce
- December 2014
- Serves 6-8, with leftovers
- Hands-on time 25 min, oven time 2-2½ hours
Trust top chef Michel Roux to give the Christmas Day turkey an easy gourmet twist, with bags of pepper and a light boozy sauce.
Or, to dial down the heat and up the warm Christmas spices, try this spice-rubbed Christmas turkey.
- 9.6g (4.1g saturdated)
- 11.3g (8.7g sugars)
For 8 servings
- 4.5kg free-range slow-grown turkey
- 2 tbsp butter, plus extra to finish
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp light brown soft sugar
- 200ml dark ale
- 1 litre good quality fresh chicken or veal stock
For the pepper mix
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 tbsp cracked white peppercorns (from Tesco, Waitrose and Ocado – see tips)
- 1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp cracked green peppercorns
- 1 tbsp whole pink peppercorns
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. For the pepper mix, combine the maple syrup and peppercorns in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and a good pinch of salt (see make ahead).
- Loosen the skin over the turkey breasts to make 2 pockets by working your hands carefully underneath from the neck end. Divide a third of the mix between the pockets, then rub the rest over the skin. Put the bird in a large roasting tin and roast for 2-2½ hours or until cooked – the thickest part of the breast should read 65°C (see tips). Remove from the oven and leave in a warm place to rest, uncovered, for up to 2 hours.
- For the sauce, heat the 2 tbsp butter in a pan and gently fry the shallots for 10-15 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and ale, simmer for 20 minutes or until syrupy, then add the stock and simmer again until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste and season, then stir in a knob of butter to give a glossy shine.
For the cracked peppercorns, bash them in a pestle and mortar.
We recommend using a digital probe thermometer to test when the turkey is done.
Make the pepper rub up to a week in advance and keep in a sealed jar in the fridge.
Michel says: “Take the bird out of the fridge 2 hours before cooking to take the chill off it.”
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