Roast Turkey with Onion and Sage Seasoning and Port Gravy

Traditional Thanksgiving Recipe. Cooking time: More than one hour




1       4 kg turkey
1       20" square cheesecloth
1       stick butter, melted 
1       tablespoon olive oil
2       tablespoon sea salt
2       tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Onion and Sage Seasoning

1        tablespoon olive oil
4        slices of bacon, chopped
1        medium brown onion, chopped
2        trimmed celery sticks, chopped
1        tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
2        teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
4        cups stale breadcrumbs
1        egg, beaten lightly
Salt and black pepper

Port Gravy

3        tablespoon butter
1        medium brown onion, chopped
1        trimmed celery stick, chopped
2        cloves garlic, crushed
¼       cup plain flour
⅓       cup red wine
¼        cup port
2¼     cups chicken stock

Nutritional information

No nutrition information available


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. For the onion and sage seasoning, heat oil in large frying pan; cook bacon, stirring, until browned. Add the onion and celery, cook, stirring, until soft. Cool 10 minutes. Combine onion mixture, herbs, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and ground black pepper in a large bowl; mix well.
  3. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Fill the neck cavity with seasoning and secure the skin over the opening with toothpicks. Fill the large cavity with the seasoning. Tie the legs together with string. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Place the turkey on an oiled wire rack in a baking dish. Dip the muslin in the melted butter, place the muslin over the turkey. This keeps the turkey moist while cooking. Cover with foil. Bake turkey in a moderate oven for 2½ hours. Remove the foil and muslin from the turkey, brush with the combined pan juices and olive oil. Bake the turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes more or until browned and cooked through. To test, insert a skewer sideways into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove the skewer and press the flesh — if the juices are clear the turkey is cooked. Or, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey thigh, without touching the bone; it should read 165°F. Test seasoning as well; it should be at least 165°F. Remove the turkey from the dish, sprinkle with the salt and thyme and stand, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the pan juices from the dish into a large jug, skim the fat from the top of the juices, reserve juices and discard fat.
  4. For the port gravy, place the same baking dish over a medium heat, melt the butter in the dish and cook the onion, celery and garlic, stirring, until soft. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour is well browned. Remove from the heat, gradually stir in combined wine and port; return to the heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture boils. Stir in the combined reserved pan juices and stock. Cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Strain gravy into a large jug. Serve the turkey with the port gravy and red wine pears. 

NOTES: Seasoning can be made a day ahead; refrigerate separately. Fill the turkey with cold seasoning close to cooking. If keeping leftover turkey, remove the seasoning from the cavity and refrigerate separately. Cooked turkey suitable to freeze after carving. Seasoning suitable to microwave.