9 French turkey recipes for Thanksgiving + Christmas holiday meals

9 French turkey recipes for Thanksgiving + Christmas holiday meals

It’s true, French people eat turkey and have beaucoup de French turkey recipes to prove it. Here are 9 turkey recipes you can cook for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals. Some use typical French ingredients you may not be used to using.  Bon appétit!

Cooking a French turkey: the French way 

Around Thanksgiving, you won’t find 15-pound turkeys at any French grocery stores in France because Thanksgiving is an American and a Canadian holiday.

You can, however, find plenty of turkey drumsticks, turkey deli meats and turkey breasts all year round.

It’s not until Christmas time when you begin to find whole Turkey’s in French grocery stores.

Christmas Turkey (Dinde De Noël)

Whole turkeys in France are usually reserved for the Christmas Eve meal (“réveillon de Noël”).

It’s called a Christmas Turkey (“Dinde de Noel” ), and it’s been a French tradition to serve a stuffed roasted turkey for Christmas since the 19th century. Before that, only the rich could afford turkey- it was still fairly rare in Europe and considered an exotic dish.

Christmas Eve meal 

In Belgium, Brazil, France, Portugal, Romania, the province of Québec, New Orleans, and several other French-speaking places, the dinner held on the evenings before Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is called a réveillon. The name of this dinner is based on the word réveil (waking), because you have to stay awake until midnight and beyond to enjoy it. 

French Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

Like North Americans, the French have their own unique way of cooking a roast turkey for the holidays, but using cranberries in the stuffing or as a side dish is not one of the ingredients the French typically use in French turkey recipes.

Instead, you’re more likely to find a rotating list of ingredients that many North Americans might not be accustomed to using in their holiday turkey recipes, such as…

  1. Chestnuts
  2. Boudin blanc (white sausage)
  3. Foie Gras ( goose or duck liver)
  4. Boudin noir ( black sausage: which is essentially blood sausages)
  5. hazelnut
  6. Truffle
  7. Escargot: snails (not so common, but recipes exist, and I have included a recipe in this article)
  8. Pain d’épice (gingerbread)

Of course, French cooks use other ingredients like apples and mushrooms, but these are the ingredients I thought were the least used in North American recipes- in other words, “more French.”

You might be interested in reading Weird foods: Can you stomach New Year’s Eve in True French style? 

The French tend to cook their holiday turkey a little differently too.

For instance, instead of dry roasting, a French turkey recipe might be roasted with a stock in a large roasting pan which keeps the flesh moist, juicy, and fall-apart tender. 

Here are some French turkey recipes. Several are in French with links to the translated English version of that recipe. And remember, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in France, so these recipes are usually reserved for the Christmas meal in France. But of course, you can cook these French turkey recipes for Thanksgiving too.

1) Turkey with herb de Provence and citrus

French turkey recipe: Herbes de Provence with citrus

Epicurious has a wonderful French turkey recipe using herbes de Provence and citrus. 

Herbes de Provence is an essential component of French and Mediterranean cooking which is basically a mixture of herbs and spices. You can buy herbes de Provence premixed at most grocery stores, or you can make it yourself. The basic recipe includes these dried herbs: thyme, parsley, savory, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme. Other recipes sometimes include or omit basil, bay leaves, chervil, sage, oregano, mint, and lavender.

Herbes de Provence in Ceramic Crock, 1 Oz
$26.00

Made with an aromatic blend of thyme, basil, savoury, fennel and lavender flowers. Also comes in a reusable white ceramic crock made in a small village in Drome (south of France)

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2) Christmas turkey stuffed with foie gras and apples

French-turkey-apple-marronns

The original recipe in French is here:(Dinde de Noël farcie au foie gras et aux pommes)

The translated version of turkey stuffed with foie gras and apples is here.

3) Stuffed Turkey Roasted With Escargot butter (Snail butter)

Turkey-snail-butter-stuffing

The original recipe in French is here: (Dinde farcie rôtie au beurre d’escargot)

The translated version of Stuffed Turkey Roasted With Escargot butter can be found here.

4) Turkey stuffed with gingerbread and foie gras

turkey-pain-dEpice

The original recipe in French is here:(Dinde farcie au pain d’épice et foie gras)

The translated version of Turkey stuffed with gingerbread and foie gras is here.

5) Turkey with chestnuts and chanterelle mushrooms ( and truffles)

Turkey-mushrooms-and-chestnuts

The original recipe in French is here: (Dinde aux champignons et marrons fondants)

The translated version of Turkey with chestnuts and chanterelle mushrooms ( and truffles) is here.

Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms
$14.99

Premium Grade (2oz)

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White Truffle Oil
$46.85
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12/05/2021 12:26 am GMT

6) Stuffed turkey with morel mushrooms and pan-fried chestnuts

Turkey-morels-chestnuts

The original recipe in French is here:(Dinde farcie aux morilles, poêlée de marrons)

The translated version of Stuffed turkey with morel mushrooms and pan-fried chestnut is here.

Wild Dried Morel Mushrooms
$40.79

2 Ounces Morchella Conica

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7) Christmas turkey stuffed with dried apricots

Turkey-dried-apricots

The original recipe in French is here:(Dinde de Noël farcie aux abricots secs)

The translated version of this Turkey stuffed with dried apricots is here.

8) Black and white stuffed turkey (guess what the black and white ingredients are!)

black-and-white-stuffed-turkey

The original recipe in French is here:(Dinde farcie en noir et blanc)

The translated version of the Black and white stuffed turkey recipe is here.

This recipe deserves a little explanation: What is the black and white part?

The black ingredient is Boudin Noir :

A blood sausage which gets its colour from the main ingredient, which is pigs blood)

The white ingredient is Boudin Blanc :

boudin blanc

A white-looking sausage usually made with white meat such as ground pork-sometimes referred to in English as white pudding. It can be found in grocery stores throughout France all year round but is most popular during the holiday seasons.

Although the spices used to make these white sausages can vary depending on the recipe, all boudin blanc contain bread crumbs and cream, which are then slowly boiled in water, giving these sausages their white appearance.

Where to buy boudin blanc and boudin noir

Boudin Blanc
$38.80

Boudin Blanc is a traditional French sausage made with milk, chicken and a touch of cognac. All Natural" guaranteed free of antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, artificial ingredients and nitrites. Animals are fed with the purest natural feeds (No animal by-product).

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If you’re lucky, you might be able to find some boudin blanc and boudin noir at your local grocery store, especially if they carry French products. If not, you can safely purchase boudin blanc and boudin noir online since it freezes well.

For you ambitious people determined to make your own boudin blanc, you can make boudin blanc or any sausage for that matter at home if you have the proper sausage-making tools, which include a sausage stuffer and sausage casings to stuff the meat into. If you have a meat grinder, you can grind your own meat. If you already have a KitchenAid mixer, you can simply buy some Kitchenaid attachments which do everything I described above.

9) Boudin Blanc–Stuffed Turkey Breasts with Chestnuts

Boudin blanc stuffed French turkey recipe with chestnuts

Epicurious has a wonderful French turkey recipe using boudin blanc (dairy-infused pork sausage, which I explained) above as a stuffing. It also shows you how to make your own boudin blanc at home. 

Here are some Turkey and Thanksgiving vocabulary for you.

In France, French people call Thanksgiving “Le Thanksgiving,” but it’s called “jour de l’action de grace” in Quebec.

  • Une dinde = turkey
  • Roasted turkey = dinde rôtie
  • gravy sauce = la sauce du rôti
  • La farce = the stuffing
  • mashed potatoes = purée de pommes de terres
  • marrons or les châtaignes= Chestnuts
  • pumpkin pie =tarte à la citrouille
  • apple pie = tarte aux pommes.

French expressions using the word turkey

  • Etre le dindon de la farce. = To fall victim to, to be duped.
  • Une dinde=  A stupid, pretentious woman.

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