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Curtis Stone’s spiced turkey with saffron couscous

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Ideal for Christmas entertaining, this spiced turkey with saffron couscous will wow your guests. It's buttery, golden and above all delicious. Give it a go!

  • Serves8, with leftovers
  • Cook time1 hour 45 minutes
  • Prep time30 minutes, + 30 mins resting & 10 mins standing time
Curtis Stone's Spiced turkey with saffron couscous


  • 3.8kg Coles RSPCA Approved Australian Whole Turkey
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp each ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, ground coriander, ground cumin, pepper and ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper and ground cloves
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil

Saffron couscous

  • 3/4 tsp saffron threads, coarsely crumbled
  • 2 cups (500ml) hot water
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 2 small carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 150g total)
  • 100g shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups (400g) Coles Couscous
  • 1/3 cup (50g) dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (55g) currants
  • 1/3 cup (45g) pistachios, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange, rind finely grated


  • 3 cups (750ml) salt-reduced chicken stock
  • 40g butter
  • 2 tbs plain flour

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.

Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Use paper towel to pat turkey dry. In a bowl, stir salt, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper and cloves. Reserve 2 tsp spice mix for saffron couscous. Add butter to the remaining spice mix and stir until well combined.
  2. Step 2

    Beginning at the neck end of the turkey, use your fingers to carefully separate skin from turkey breast. Spoon the butter mixture under the skin and use your hands to spread over the breast. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Rub oil all over the outside of the turkey and sprinkle with salt. Place on a rack in a large flameproof roasting pan.
  3. Step 3

    Roast turkey, basting occasionally with pan juices, for 11/2-13/4 hours or until skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 74°C when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Transfer the turkey to a carving board (don’t clean out the roasting pan) and set aside for 30 mins to rest.
  4. Step 4

    Meanwhile, to make the saffron couscous, combine the saffron and hot water in a bowl. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the carrots, shallots and reserved 2 tsp spice mix. Cook, stirring, for 6 mins or until carrot softens. Add couscous and stir to coat. Cook, stirring, for 3 mins or until the couscous is lightly toasted. Stir in apricots, currants and saffron water. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat. Cover and stand for 10 mins or until the couscous is tender. Uncover and use a fork to separate the grains. Stir in the pistachios and orange rind. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Step 5

    To make the gravy, carefully pour pan drippings from the roasting pan into a small jug. Set aside for 5 mins to allow fat to rise to the top. Use a spoon to remove the fat and discard, reserving pan juices. Place the roasting pan over medium heat. Add the reserved pan juices and the stock and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up brown bits. Strain the stock mixture into a large jug. Discard solids.
  6. Step 6

    In a medium heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan for 2 mins or until butter is light golden brown. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 min or until mixture is grainy. Whisk in 3 cups (750ml) stock mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 mins or until gravy thickens slightly. Season.
  7. Step 7

    Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter. Serve with the saffron couscous and gravy.

Recipe tip

Serve with coriander sprigs, flat-leaf parsley sprigs, mint sprigs and chopped pistachio.

Nutrition Information

Per Serve

Energy: 2699kJ/646 Cals (31%)

Protein: 36g (72%)

Fat: 33g (47%)

Sat fat: 15g (63%)

Carb: 50g (16%)

Sugar: 11g (12%)

Fibre: 5g (17%)

Sodium: 602mg (30%)