Olive Magazine
Turkey with shallots

Classic turkey with gravy and roast shallots

Published: March 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • A little effort
  • Serves 8

If you want a perfect and elegant classic Christmas - this is the turkey recipe for you.


Try this roast turkey with shallots, then check out our ultimate roast turkey, turkey crown, turkey gravy and more Christmas turkey recipes.

Your turkey will need a different cooking time per weight depending on how big it is. Calculate the weight the night before and don’t forget to allow one hour of resting time.

This gravy is a basic recipe that you can build on. White wine will give a paler gravy and lighter flavour than the red. If you want a richer gravy, add port to the red wine and stir in some redcurrant or cranberry jelly. A creamier, mustardy gravy can be made by stirring in some Dijon and a dollop of crème fraîche.


  • 125g butter
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved
  • 1 oven-ready turkey, about 6kg
  • 2 large onions, 1 halved and 1 thickly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 glasses white wine
  • small bag shallots, peeled
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 200ml white wine or red wine
  • 600ml chicken stock


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas 4. Mix the butter with the lemon zest and season well. Gently push your fingers under the turkey’s skin, starting from the neck end of the bird, easing the skin away from the flesh over both the breast and tops of the drumsticks – you’ll have to slide your whole hand in to reach this far. Spread the butter under the skin, pushing it as far in as you can, then smooth the skin back into place. Put the onion halves and bay leaves into the cavity. Tie the legs together for a neater look.

  • STEP 2

    Arrange the sliced onion in the bottom of a large roasting tin to act as a trivet for the bird, then pour in the wine. Sit the turkey on top. Season the skin on the breast well, push the lemon halves left over from the lemon butter inside the cavity and add the shallots to the roasting tin around the bird.

  • STEP 3

    Cover both the bird and tin completely with foil to make a tent. Cook the turkey for 40 mins per kilo, basting once or twice. Take out the turkey and turn up the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until the skin is golden. To test if it is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer – the juices that run out should be clear and not pink; keep cooking if the juices are pink and check again after each 10 minutes. If you like your turkey meat almost falling off the bones, test by wiggling the leg – it should give slightly if the meat is ready to come away from the bones.

  • STEP 4

    Rest the turkey, covered loosely with foil, for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before carving (this will give you a chance to cook the potatoes). Strain the cooking juices and keep the onions to use in the gravy.

  • STEP 5

    To make the gravy, pour away any excess fat from the roasting tin but keep the onion slices – a fat separator will help with this. Set the tin over a medium heat, then sprinkle over the flour. Stir through and cook for 2 minutes, turning the onion over in the mixture to extract the flavour. Slowly stir in the wine, stock and juices. Bring to a boil, scraping bits from the bottom, then simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. Season and sieve into a jug. Serve with the turkey.

Of course, no Christmas dinner is complete without the traditional Christmas trimmings. Why not try some of these:

Garlic and Rosemary Roasties

Super crispy and deliciously flavoured with garlic and rosemary. The best roasties...

Garlic and rosemary roasties
Garlic and rosemary roasties

Buttered Sprouts

The most traditional brussels sprouts with chestnuts and crispy bacon.

Brussels sprouts with bacon
Buttery sprouts with chesnuts and crisp bacon

Citrus baby carrots

Zingy with flavours of clematine these are carrots with a twist

citrus carrots
Carrots with clementines

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