Want a way to take the stress out of cooking this Christmas? Want to spend more time actually enjoying Christmas Day rather than being stuck in the kitchen, alone, muttering at the oven? Want a delicious home cooked turkey dinner with all the trimmings? Want it all ready in under 1h 30mins, with only 2 pans and a colander to wash up? Impossible!?! Well, I think I may just have found a way to do it… Introducing my Easy Peasy Christmas Turkey Traybake…
My Christmas dilemma…
So here’s the story… I really love cooking and I’m a total foodie, but there is one day in the year when I really would rather not spend all my time in the kitchen and that’s Christmas Day. I usually feel so torn (as I imagine many foodies do.)
On the one hand I want to create a beautiful feast… I want to cook a gorgeous, bronzed roast turkey and all the trimmings, mountains of vegetables and lashings of gravy. And the foodie in me really wants to sit down to a sumptuous feast (and she can be quite exacting at times!)
BUT I also want to enjoy Christmas Day with my family. I want to go to church and watch my kids open their presents. I want to sip a glass of chilled champagne and chat with my guests. I want to snuggle on the sofa and watch The Snowman…
My Christmas reality…
Instead, I so often find myself spending the majority of my day in the kitchen, muttering at the oven and getting cross with myself because something took longer than expected and now I’m behind on my time plan, all the while quietly seething because no one is helping…
Except of course everyone does offer to help… but are usually waved away by me with a cheery “no I’ve got it all under control!” (because I’m useless at delegating in the kitchen), only for me to go back to muttering and mumbling as soon as they’ve gone back to their Champagne and lovingly-prepared-by-me canapés.
An easier Christmas…
My solution to all this over the years has been to drastically simplify what I do each year and remind myself continually that Christmas is not all about the food and that there are much more important things to worry about on Christmas Day than the slightly-too-thick bread sauce and those three roast potatoes that didn’t quite get crispy enough!
One tray Christmas dinner?
Now, regulars here will know I am a HUGE fan of traybakes… I love how all you need to do is spend 5 or 10 minutes chopping and prepping, before popping everything in a roasting tray, sticking it in the oven and basically ignoring dinner for an hour or so, while I get on with other things: playing with the kids, doing some work or even (when I’m really lucky) taking a few quiet moments to read a book.
As I was planning yet another new traybake, I was hit by the idea of creating a Christmas traybake… Could it be done? I wondered… Would it work?
I felt sure it must be possible. After all, a large part of the traditional British Christmas lunch is roasted anyway: the turkey, the potatoes, the parsnips, sometimes the carrots… sausages always do well in the oven… So really it was just the sprouts I wasn’t sure about. So I had a go at roasting them and they worked beautifully too.
(If you are yet to try roast sprouts you really should: 15 minutes at 220C (200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F) and they come out beautifully… delightfully crispy with a slightly nutty flavour – I could eat a whole tray of them!)
So then the questions was, would it all come together in one tray? The answer turned out to be a resounding yes… but only if the roasting tray was large enough. I bought a massive one from my local supermarket, and it has been such a good investment for all my traybake needs!
Easy Peasy Christmas Turkey Traybake
So I bring you my Christmas Turkey Traybake… All the flavours of Christmas in one tray: roast potatoes, roast parsnips, roast carrots, roast turkey breast fillets, plus roasted red onions and sage (to give you all those lovely flavours of stuffing) and, of course, those lovely roast sprouts.
It tastes fabulous, but the best thing of all is it’s a fab way to do the Christmas dinner if you don’t want to spend your whole morning in the kitchen. It takes less than 1h 30mins from start to finish and most of that time you are not really doing anything at all.
And (did I mention already?) there’s only 1 saucepan, 1 colander and 1 roasting tray to wash up! (Very different from the usual mountains of washing up on Christmas Day…)
It is also cheap. This Easy Peasy Christmas Turkey Traybake is really more food than the 4 of us can eat and yet it cost just under £12 for the whole thing! (Approximately £3 per head, not including sauces.) That’s a lot less than we would normally spend and really no less tasty.
A traybake for all the trimmings?
Yes I appreciate that you do lose a bit of the drama and theatre of having a big centrepiece turkey… But you could always adapt this traybake and do everything BUT the turkey as the traybake, then roast a turkey separately…
And yes, I realise I have missed a few things out…bread sauce, cranberry sauce and stuffing, for example. But if these are important to you, there is plenty of time to make them while you are hanging around waiting for the oven to do its thing. I am toying with the idea of making some simple stuffing balls and popping them in the traybake next time I make it.
Perfect for a small or large Christmas dinner
The beauty of this traybake is it will work for really small numbers too… The recipe below is for 4, but you could easily halve it if there are only 2 of you.
And if you are cooking for lots of guests, you could do 2 or even 3 of these traybakes, so long as you have enough room in your oven.
Adaptations to try…
This traybake can be really easily adapted for other meats too – I’ve already tried it successfully with duck legs, and I’m convinced it would work brilliantly with chicken thighs too.
And if you are catering for a mix of vegetarians and non-vegetarians, why not roast the veg in the tray, do the turkey separately and you will have plenty of time to make a stunning vegetarian centrepiece too.
What to serve with Christmas Turkey Traybake
What to drink with Christmas Turkey Traybake
I always think a buttery French Chardonnay goes best with turkey… But if you prefer red, this traybake would also work well with a Southern French Grenache or a Spanish Garnacha.
I’m personally not a fan of turkey and Claret, but if it works for you go for it!
A less stressful time in the kitchen this year
I appreciate this traybake version of a traditional Christmas dinner will not be for everyone, but I hope it will be helpful for some, and if not for the main Christmas meal, perhaps for another event over the festive season.
Whether you make this for Christmas dinner this year, use it to have a cheeky little taste of Christmas flavours before Christmas, or cook it to hoover up an abundance of leftovers lurking in the fridge, I hope these ideas will help you have a less stressful time in the kitchen this year and give you more time to focus on the things that really matter this Christmas time!
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Easy Peasy Christmas Turkey Traybake
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 kg baking potatoes peeled and cut into 50g (1½oz) chunks
- Salt and pepper
- 500 g parsnips peeled and cut into batons
- 500 g chantenay carrots left whole
- 8 garlic cloves gently bashed, skins left on
- 1 large red onion peeled and cut into 8 wedges
- 10 cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon you can buy these ready prepared
- 8 turkey breast fillets each one approximately 100g / 3½oz
- 8 sage leaves
- 200 g sprouts
- Gravy and other sauces to serve.
- Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F. Drizzle 6 tablespoons of olive oil into the base of a very large roasting tin (roughly 40 x 33cm or 16 x 13inches) and place the tray in the oven to heat up.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks that weigh roughly 50cm (1½oz). Place them in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Add a teaspoon of salt and cook over a medium-high heat for 12 minutes. (Start timing as soon as you turn on the heat, NOT from when the water reboils.)
- Meanwhile peel the parsnips and cut into large batons. I usually cut my parsnips in half lengthways and then widthways and then cut the top part in half again lengthways so I get 6 roughly even sized batons.
- Gently bash 8 garlic cloves and peel and cut a red onion into quarters. Slice your sprouts in half and get the sage and carrots out of the fridge, so you are all ready.
- When the potatoes are done, drain them and shake them in the saucepan with the lid on (to fluff up the edges, so you get plenty of crispy bits!) Then tip the potatoes into the hot fat. Add the parsnips and carrots. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper and then turn everything in the hot fat (take care not to burn yourself!)
- Put the tray in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the tray and add the garlic cloves and red onion wedges. Return the roasting tray to the oven and roast everything for another 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, season the turkey breast fillets, then add them to the tray along with the halved sprouts, cocktail sausages and sage leaves. Put the tray back in the oven for a further 20 minutes. This would be a good time to make a jug of gravy and any other sauces you want to serve with the traybake (e.g. bread sauce and/or cranberry sauce)
- After the last 20 minutes, check the turkey is done (cut the largest fillet in half and check there is no pink). Serve with your gravy and sauces. Easy Peasy!
- Not suitable for freezing (except the turkey on its own IS suitable for freezing).
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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