How to Cook a Five Bird Roast and Gravy for Christmas

Elaine Lemm
  • Total: 115 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 110 mins
  • Yield: 2KG serves 6 (serves 5-6)

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, create a wonderful roast for your celebrations. 

Unless you are a master butcher or very adept with birds, buy your roast ready assembled for cooking at home. The hand prepared 5 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 flavour, so serve with a simple gravy (instructions below) and  roasted root vegetables of your choice. 


  • Five Bird Roast (prepared but uncooked***
  • 3/4 cup (150ml) white wine
  • 1 liter stock (chicken)
  • Optional: redcurrant jelly
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make It

How to Cook a Five Bird Roast

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C or 180C/ gas mark 5 for fan assisted ovens.

  2. Calculate the cooking time at 50 minutes per kilo of roast.

  3. Allow the roast to come to room temperature for at least an hour - never cook directly from the fridge. Pat the roast dry with kitchen paper and place in a large roasting tray. Season well with salt and pepper.

  4. 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.

  5. Remove the foil tent 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time to brown and crisp the skin

  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.

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

Make a Simple Poultry 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.

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

  3. Pour in the dry wine and stir well then add the 1 liter of chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Add the meat juices, minus the fat, bring back to the boil and cook for a further 3 minutes. Strain and serve.  For a richer gravy add two teaspoon Redcurrant jelly, stir until dissolved then strain through a fine sieve into a gravy boat or serving jug.

Christmas Bird Roasts available from