This year, many people will be sitting down to a Christmas Turkey Dinner for Two. There's no need to miss out on the traditional turkey with most of the trimmings. Here I'll show you how to cook a beautiful Christmas Turkey dinner for two with no waste. It can all be cooked in just one hour and I'll talk you through the timings for everything. Even if you're not used to cooking a Christmas dinner or haven't done one in a while, this is very easy.
How much do I need for Two?
This is a guide for the quantities you will need per person for your Christmas turkey dinner for two. I've shown it per person so you can easily adapt the quantities according to your appetite.
- TURKEY. Because we're using breast or fillets, 150g - 200g per person will be plenty. Buy this as one 300g - 400g piece for two or as two individual pieces.
- POTATOES. 250g per person. This is for the total amount of potatoes, so if you'd like more than one kind, this should be the combined weight.
- VEGETABLES. A good size portion of vegetables is 75g per person. So you would prepare 150g of sprouts for two people, 150g of carrots and 150g of parsnips for example. If you'd like more than three different vegetables, I would reduce the portion sizes slightly.
- STUFFING, 45g dried stuffing mix per person.
- PIGS IN BLANKETS. 3 or 4 per person.
How to cook the Turkey
For two people, a whole turkey or even a turkey crown is too much. A turkey breast or fillet will roast beautifully.
Turkey breasts or fillets need a relatively short cooking time. I like to cook them on a high heat for two reasons. Firstly, it helps lock in the juices keeping the meat tender. Secondly, it means we can cook everything except the sprouts in one baking tray, all at the same time.
If your turkey has skin on, then leave it. It will help keep the meat moist. Rub butter over the top and bottom of your turkey to stop the meat from drying out or sticking to the tray. I like to add some orange zest as the flavour goes well with the turkey. You could use lemon zest or other herbs if you prefer.
Turkey Cooking Times
Cook the turkey at 220°C / 425°F / 200°C Fan / gas mark 7 as per the following times.
- A 400g single breast or fillet needs 35 - 40 minutes
- A 200g breast or fillet needs 20 - 22 minutes.
- A 150g - 180g breast or fillet needs for 18 - 20 minutes
Don't be tempted to overcook your turkey as the meat will be dry. If you are cooking 2 x 200g breasts or fillets, you still only need 20 - 22 minutes. The best way to make sure your turkey is cooked properly, is to check it with a meat thermometer. Insert the meat thermometer into the middle of the meat. The internal temperature should be 74°C / 175°F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, stick a fork into the middle. The meat juices should run clear.
When the turkey is cooked, let the meat rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Resting meat allows the juices to redistribute which keeps the meat tender. Cover your turkey with a few layers of tin foil so it doesn't go cold.
Options for cooking the vegetables
Some people like to simply boil their vegetables. Others like them roasted. I'll show you how to do both. Remove the tops from the carrots and parsnips, peel them and cut into matchsticks.
To boil the carrots and parsnips, place in a pan of lightly salted water, bring to a boil and simmer for the following times.
- Carrots - 7 - 9 minutes
- Parsnips 8 - 10 minutes until tender.
To roast the carrots and parsnips, chop them into matchsticks. Place them all together in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Drain and let them steam dry for 2 minutes. Add them to the roasting tin and turn them over in the oil a few times. Roast for about 30 minutes.
How to cook and prepare Sprouts
I find the best way to cook sprouts is to steam them. Sprouts should have a firm texture, not fall apart and needn't be sulphurous. Steaming them helps bring out their slightly nutty flavour. Peel off any tough outer leaves and trim the base. Some people put a cross in the base to help them cook. You don't need to do this, unless your sprouts are particularly large. Steam the sprouts for 5 minutes. Sprouts should be firm when you put a fork into them. If you don't have a steamer, you can steam them in a microwave. Place them in a microwave proof dish and add a few centimetres of water. Cover with a plate and steam on high power for 6 - 8 minutes.
I'm not going to recommend making your own stuffing from scratch since I promised this Christmas Dinner could be prepared and cooked in just one hour. Choose a good packet stuffing mix and add hot water as per the packet instructions. 90g of a dried mix will make around 6 stuffing balls and will probably be enough. Once we have the stuffing balls, we can cook them in the roasting tray along with everything else for 30 minutes.
Pigs in Blankets
For many people, these are an essential part of a traditional Christmas Dinner. You can buy these ready made or easily make them yourself. A pig in blanket is just a chipolata sausage wrapped in a piece of bacon. If you can't find chipolata sausages, normal pork sausages will do. Chop each one into three pieces and wrap each sausage piece in some unsmoked bacon. We can roast these in the same baking tray for 30 minutes.
Although we don't have meat juices, we can still make a delicious homemade gravy to go with our Christmas Roast Turkey dinner. In a pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of plain flour. This will make a paste which is used to thicken the gravy. Dissolve a stock cube in 300ml of boiling water and slowly add to the gravy paste stirring all the time. I like to use a beef stock cube as I find it gives the best flavour and also colour. If you like, you can add a little port or red wine but this is optional. Keep stirring your gravy until it thickens. Taste your gravy and check you are happy with the flavour. Add a dash of salt or pepper if necessary. To make your gravy gluten free, use Cornflour instead of plain flour.
Countdown to cooking your Christmas Dinner for Two in 1 Hour
Here I'll walk you through all the timings for cooking your Christmas Turkey Dinner for Two and countdown from one hour. Don't worry if your timings are not exact, your dinner won't be ruined. The most important thing is to keep an eye on the turkey and don't overcook it. If other things aren't quite ready, you can wrap the turkey in tin foil and keep it warm until everything else catches up.
60 Minutes Before Eating
- Remove the turkey from the fridge
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / 200°C Fan / Gas Mark 7 and place a shelf in the middle of your oven.
- Get out a roasting tray roughly 35cm x 25cm or bigger.
- Add a thin coating of vegetable oil to the roasting tray and place in the oven.
- Peel the potatoes and chop into pieces about 3cm x 3cm.
- Place the potatoes into a pan of lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8 - 9 minutes.
- Rub some butter over both sides of your turkey and sprinkle with a little salt and orange zest or herbs. Remember not to put your hand back into the butter dish once you have touched the turkey as you don't want to contaminate your butter with raw meat juices.
- Peel the carrots and parsnips. Chop into matchsticks. Place in a pan of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes through a colander and give the colander a bit of a shake to rough up the edges.
- Remove the roasting tin from the oven and add the potatoes. Turn them over a few times to cover them in the oil.
- If you are cooking a turkey breast or fillet weighing around 400g, add this to the roasting tin.
- Drain the carrots and parsnips and let them steam dry.
- Remove the roasting tray from the oven
- Add the carrots and parsnips, turning them over a few times in the oil.
- Place the pigs in blankets and the stuffing balls in the tray.
- Add the turkey breast or fillet if it's a smaller piece weighing 200g or less.
- Remove the outer leaves from the sprouts and cut off the tips. Place them in a steamer ready.
- Get the gravy ready. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour and slowly add the hot beef stock, stirring all the time until the gravy thickens. Keep the gravy on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
- You're doing great!
- Check your turkey if you're cooking smaller pieces weighing 200g or less. If it's done, take it out and cover it with a few layers of foil.
- Turn on the steamer or bring the water to a boil ready to steam the sprouts.
- If you've not yet removed your turkey from the oven, check that it is cooked and take it out. Cover with a few layers of foil and leave it to rest. Everything else can stay in the oven.
- Set the sprouts to steam.
- Everything should be ready and nice and hot. If it's not quite ready yet, don't worry, it's not Masterchef. Your turkey will stay warm whilst everything else catches up.
For more great recipe ideas over Christmas and a Christmas Meal Planner you can adapt for two, check out my Christmas Meal Planner
Christmas Turkey Dinner for Two
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil
- 400 g turkey breast or fillet
- 25 g butter
- 1 orange zest of
- 500 g potatoes organic, peeled
- 150 g carrots organic, peeled
- 150 g parsnips organic, peeled
- 150 g sprouts organic, outer leaves removed
- 90 g stuffing mix made into stuffing balls
- 6 pigs in blankets
- 2 tbsp cranberry sauce to serve, optional
For the Gravy
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp plain flour use Cornflour for gluten free
- 300 ml beef stock
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F /gas mark 7. Add a thin layer of vegetable oil to the roasting tin and place in the oven. Peel and chop the potatoes into pieces 3cm x 3cm. Place the potatoes in a pan of lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8 - 9 minutes.
- Rub butter over both sides of the turkey. Sprinkle with a little salt and orange zest or herbs.
- Place the carrots and parsnips in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and add them to the roasting tin. Turn them over a few times in the oil. Add a 400g turkey breast to the roasting tin if using. A smaller one will be added later.
- Drain the carrots and parsnips and let them steam dry for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots and parsnips to the roasting tin. Add the pigs in blankets and stuffing balls to the roasting tray along with a 200g turkey breast if using.
How to make the gravy
- Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the flour. Slowly add the hot stock, stirring all the time until the gravy thickens. Check the seasoning. Once it has thickened, keep it on a low heat and stir occasionally.
- Check the turkey and remove from the oven if 200g or less. Cover with a few layers of foil and leave to rest. A larger piece of turkey may need slightly longer. Steam the sprouts either in a steamer or a microwave.
- Check everything is cooked and serve with some cranberry sauce.