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A Christmas Turkey Dinner

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Turkey for Christmas is an automatic crowd-pleaser. You just don’t want to rehash last month’s Thanksgiving feast. This menu turns the turkey in a more festive, wintry direction, pairing it with an elegant frisée salad, crunchy Dijon-roasted Brussels sprouts, and a luxe cheesecake topped with Cointreau-soaked cranberries.

Download a pdf of this menu, including all recipes, shopping list, and timeline.

Menu Timeline

Two days ahead:

  • Make the cranberry-Cointreau sauce for the cheesecake.

One day ahead:

  • Make the juniper-ginger butter.
  • Brine the turkey and let it sit uncovered overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Make and bake the cheesecake; refrigerate it uncovered overnight.

3-1/2 hours before dinner:

  • Put the turkey in to roast.

2 hours before dinner:

  • Make the breadcrumb topping for the brussels sprouts.
  • Make the salad dressing and soak the dried cherries.

1 hour before dinner:

  • Prep the Brussels sprouts for roasting.
  • Start cooking the potatoes.
  • Check on the turkey; when it’s done, move it to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest.

20 minutes before dinner:

  • Roast the Brussels sprouts.
  • Crush the potatoes and let them continue cooking.
  • Make the gravy.

Just before dinner:

  • Dress and assemble the salads.
  • Sprinkle the toasted crumbs on the Brussels sprouts.
  • Transfer potatoes to a platter and sprinkle with salt.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with gravy.

Just before dessert:

  • Spoon the cranberry-Cointreau sauce onto the cheesecake.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 2 lb. baby Yukon Gold or Red Bliss potatoes (20 to 25 potatoes, 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inches in diameter)
  • 2 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 12-oz. package fresh cranberries
  • 1 large head frisée (about 8 oz.)
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 2 large bunches fresh rosemary
  • 2 large bunches fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 large piece fresh ginger
  • 1 medium lemon

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 1 14-lb. natural turkey (preferably fresh)
  • 4 8-oz. packages cream cheese
  • 1 lb. unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. good-quality blue cheese

Other Groceries

  • 1 box graham crackers (about 10 full sheets needed)
  • 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth (or use homemade)
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 6 Tbs. walnut oil
  • 2 Tbs. Cointreau
  • 2 Tbs. dried juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • Fleur de sel or other sea salt (optional)

Pantry Staples

  • 2-1/2 lb. kosher salt for the brine (8-3/4 cups if you’re using Diamond Crystal brand); more for seasoning the rest of the meal
  • 6-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu


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