British Five Bird Roast and Gravy

Cook a five bird roast recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  • Total: 115 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 110 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings

A wonderful centerpiece to any Christmas table has to be the five bird roast. This historical method of stuffing one boneless bird with another, with another, and so on, to create a wonderful roast is perfect for holiday celebrations.

Unless you are a master butcher or very adept with birds, buy your roast ready assembled for cooking at home. The hand prepared five bird roast in this recipe was made to order from James Alexander Foods with local free range turkey, pheasant, chicken, mallard duck, and wild wood pigeon, combined so that each bird cooks the next one inside and the juices combine exquisitely.

The birds in this recipe make for a strong flavor, so serve with a simple gravy and roasted root vegetables of your choice. 


  • Five bird roast (prepared, but uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup/150 ml white wine
  • 1 L chicken stock
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons red currant jelly
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this five bird roast is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Roast

  1. Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C, or 180 C/Gas Mark 5 for fan assisted ovens. Calculate the cooking time at 50 minutes per kilo of roast.

    Ingredients for roast
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  2. Allow the roast to come to room temperature for at least an hour—never cook directly from the fridge.

    Allow roast to cook
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  3. Pat the roast dry with kitchen paper and season well with salt and pepper.

    Let roast dry
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  4. Place in a large roasting tray. Cover the tray with a loose tent of foil and place in the middle of your preheated oven. Roast for the calculated time, basting with the juices every 30 to 40 mins.

    Place in tray
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Remove the foil tent 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time to brown and crisp the skin.

    Remove tent
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  6. Check the roast is cooked by inserting a skewer into the center, the juices should run clear. If they are a little pink, give them 15 minutes more and check again.

    Check roast
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  7. Transfer to a serving platter and tightly cover with foil and allow to rest for 15 to 30 minutes before carving.

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  8. Serve and enjoy!

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Make the Gravy

  1. Pour all the juices from the roasting tin into a bowl or jug. Spoon off all the fat, which will float to the surface and discard.

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Place the roasting tin in which you cooked the bird on a high heat on the stove top, add the flour and stir to scrape up all the sediment from the tin. Cook for one minute.

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Pour in the wine and stir well, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Pour in wine
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  4. Add the meat juices, minus the fat, bring back to the boil and cook for a further 3 minutes. Salt to taste. Strain and serve. 

    Add meat juice
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. For a richer gravy, add two teaspoon red currant jelly, stir until dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve into a gravy boat or serving jug.

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack