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Roast turkey with sour-cherry stuffing and pickled cherries

Emma Knowles recipe for roast turkey with sour-cherry stuffing and pickled cherries.

By Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 15 mins cooking plus pickling, cooling, resting
  • Serves 8 - 10
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Roast turkey with sour-cherry stuffing and pickled cherries
We've included dried sour cherries in the stuffing here and served the turkey with a piquant cherry pickle for a double-whammy. The stuffing and pickled cherries can be made ahead to make things that much easier on Christmas Day. Try serving it with a simple herby farro salad dressed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette to keep things interesting. Start this recipe two days ahead to make the pickle.


  • 1 turkey (about 7kg), at room temperature
  • 100 gm softened butter
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • To taste: lemon juice
Pickled cherries
  • 200 ml sherry vinegar
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • ¼ Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 orange, thinly peeled rind of ½
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 450 gm pitted cherries (about 480gm unpitted)
Sour-cherry stuffing
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250 gm coarse light rye breadcrumbs
  • 80 gm dried sour cherries
  • 50 gm roasted pine nuts
  • Juice and finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon


  • 1
    For pickled cherries, stir ingredients except cherries and 100ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add cherries, bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium and simmer until cherries are just tender (6-8 minutes). Transfer to a sterile jar and refrigerate for at least 2 days before using. Pickled cherries will keep refrigerated for up to a month.
  • 2
    For sour-cherry stuffing, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then sauté onion and garlic until tender and translucent (4-5 minutes), then tip into a bowl to cool. Stir in remaining ingredients and season to taste.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 190C. Fill turkey cavity with stuffing, truss legs, then rub bird all over with butter and season well. Place breast-side up in a large roasting pan, add stock to pan and roast, basting occasionally with pan juices, until golden brown and juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer or internal temperature reaches 74C on a meat thermometer when tested in thigh and breast (2¾-3 hours; cover with foil if turkey browns too quickly). Remove from pan, cover loosely with foil and rest for 30 minutes.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, simmer pan juices over medium-high heat until reduced to a thick sauce consistency (10-12 minutes), squeeze in a little lemon juice and season to taste. Serve with roast turkey and pickled cherries.