The turkey stuffing recipe guaranteed to spice up Christmas

Jason Goodwin offers up a recipe for turkey stuffing which will infuse your bird with a touch of Istanbul.

Historian and writer Jason Goodwin is famous for the descriptions of food in his novels, and he has now produced a book of mouthwatering recipes: Yashim Cooks Istanbul: Culinary Adventures in the Ottoman Kitchen.  Here’s one of those recipes – one which will give your Christmas turkey a real lift.

Yashim’s Ottoman Turkey Stuffing 

This fragrant stuffing will infuse your Christmas bird with a light and lemony touch of Istanbul – and keep the meat from drying out. It can also be cooked separately.


  • cooked basmati rice 1 lb/500g
  • walnuts 2oz/50g, crushed
  • garlic, 3 cloves, chopped in salt
  • onion, peeled and grated
  • lemon 1, zest and juice
  • butter 2oz/125g
  • liver from the turkey, chopped, if supplied
  • turmeric ½ tsp
  • ground cumin ½ tsp
  • bunch of fresh herbs – parsley, dill, rosemary, finely chopped
  • olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • salt
  • pepper


Get your ingredients ready: chop, pound, crush and grate, and enjoy the pungent scents.

In a large mixing bowl, working with your hands, mix all the ingredients together to make a paste. Squeeze the rice firmly!

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Check your bird is empty, then scoop in the stuffing, packing it well in. Rub the skin with oil and salt.

Lay the turkey breast down in the roasting dish and put it into a pre-heated oven. This allows the stuffing to begin melting into the drier parts of the bird.

After half an hour, turn the turkey breast up, as usual. Cook as directed, depending on the weight of your turkey.

3kg (6.6lb) – 1 3/4 hours

4kg (8.8lb) – 2 hours

5kg (11lb) – 2 1/4 hours

6kg (13.2lb) – 2 1/2 hours

7-8kg (15.5lb – 17.7lb) – 3 hours

9-11kg (19.8lb – 24.2lb) – 3 1/4 hours

Allow the bird to rest for an hour before carving.


Jason Goodwin’s latest book, Yashim Cooks Istanbul: Culinary Adventures in the Ottoman Kitchen, is out now, published by Argonaut and priced at £25.