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The Secret to Succulent Turkey – Poached Turkey with White Wine Gravy


Poached Turkey with White Wine Gravy Recipe



The Secret to Succulent Turkey


The jury is divided about turkey's place on the table at Christmas lunch. I’m firmly in the ‘yes’ camp – it’s delicious and I love the cranberry sauce, cauliflower cheese and brussel sprouts – it reminds me of family Christmases as a child. But so many people have experienced dry, overcooked roast turkey, and won’t go back. I’m hoping to change your view and bring back the Christmas turkey, by sharing the secret to a delicious, juicy bird.

Turkey is low in fat so it needs to be cooked with care to keep it succulent. When roasting a whole bird, the leg to breast ratio is such that you have to dry out the breast before the legs are cooked. For this reason, I like to poach my turkey breast rather than roast it. It keeps the breast meat really succulent, even when slicing and serving cold.

Since moving to Australia (my wife and I are from South Africa via England) we’ve always celebrated Christmas with plenty of friends and fellow ‘orphans’ – people without family nearby. Hosting Christmas lunch at Stay Margaret River for visitors and locals alike feels like an extension of those Christmases – we bring together a happy group of people and often end up making new friends during the course of the day.

Poached turkey breast is one of four ‘mains’ on the menu this Christmas – alongside the traditional glazed ham, a striploin of beef and a scrumptious nut roast for our vegetarian friends. If you’re interested in joining us you can read the full menu below and book a table by calling us on 9757 2633.

Give this recipe a spin – I reckon it’ll change your view on turkey – and your Christmas table.

Justin Hickman
Chef, GM – Quality Inn Margaret River




  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.6kg turkey breast fillet, skin on
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 30g butter
  • 2 and a half tablespoons plain flour




Heat oil in large frying pan over high heat. Sprinkle turkey with salt & pepper & cook, skin side down, for 5 mins until golden. Turn & cook for a further 5 mins or until golden. Be sure to keep moving the turkey to seal all parts and not over cook 1 point of contact to the pan. The idea is to seal the outside, not cook it, so the process should be quick.

Place the turkey breast in a large pot with the wine, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme & peppercorns & cover. Simmer at just below boiling point for about 1 hour and 15 mins or until cooked through (core temperature of 72ºC).

Remove the turkey from poaching liquid, reserve the liquid and keep warm.

Strain the liquid and set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking for a minute until dark brown. Gradually whisk in the cooking liquid, bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or until thickened, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn.

Slice the turkey & serve with the white wine gravy.



Feel like relaxing this Christmas? Let us do the hard yards in the kitchen


Join us for Christmas lunch at Willow Grill, our inhouse restaurant at Stay Margaret River.

Christmas Lunch Menu at Willow Grill, Stay Margaret River


Margaret River Accommodation


Where better to stay for Christmas than Stay Margaret River? Dine inhouse for a truly relaxing Christmas experience. Book direct for the best rates.


More Margaret River holiday inspo


Keep reading our blog for some more holiday ideas including 24 Hours in Margaret River, DIY Cheese Tasting Tour of Margaret River and 10 Best Breakfasts in Margaret River.

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