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Galopoula Gemisti (Stuffed Turkey)

Galopoula Gemisti (Stuffed Turkey)

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Galopoula Gemisti (pr. Ghah-loh-POU-lah Gheh-mee-STEE), is the Cypriot stuffed roasted turkey which is filled with finely chopped chicken giblets, rice, almonds and raisins. 

This stuffed turkey which we make in Greece is much different as it is usually stuffed with minced meat, pine nuts and chestnuts.

It is perfect for Thanksgiving but as Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Cyprus or Greece, we always roast our turkey on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

What makes it special is the filling which is made with finely chopped chicken livers, rice, almonds and raisins. 

turkey breast slices image

I can remember what a huge bird we used to roast as I come from a big family.   

I have two brothers and three sisters and apart from one of my brothers who lives in Australia, the rest of my siblings together with their families, used to gather at our parents’ house to celebrate together.

During the Christmas holidays, apart from Christmas Day, we also celebrate Christmas Eve, the day after Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s day, Epiphany Day and St. John’s (7th January).

So, on these days we also used to gather at one of our siblings house, to celebrate together, each time at a different house.

Turkey stuffing image

I learned making this recipe from my mother and I continue roasting the turkey on Christmas day making the same recipe year after year.  

I usually roast a turkey between 4 – 5 kilos. For each kilo of turkey, it should bake for an hour.

collage Turkey filling image

We love the stuffing with chicken livers, so I don’t think I’ll ever try and make something different.

In Greece turkey is stuffed with minced meat and in the stuffing they add pine nuts and chestnuts.

Collage Turkey for stuffing image

Brining the Turkey

Note added after Christmas 2008:

There are two ways you can brine the turkey.

One method is to submerge the turkey in a brine solution and the other is to dry brine it.

This year, I also added 2 cups of boiled and peeled chestnuts in the filling and 2 spring onions and all these added to the taste.

As soon as turkey is removed from the oven, put some slices of bread and roast them. Sprinkle some olive oil and oregano on top.

turkey brining image

Update 27th December, 2013:

This year I made too much filling for the turkey so after stuffing the turkey, I wrapped the remaining in parchment paper and aluminum foil and baked it together with potatoes, separately from the turkey.  

The potatoes were relatively large, so some of them were halved and a slit was made in the middle, in order to absorb the juices.  

I added olive oil, lemon juice, mandarin juice, salt,  pepper and oregano.  

These were placed on the lower rack of the oven and a separate baking tin with the turkey was cooked on top.

Turkey brining 2013 image

The turkey was around 4 kilos.  After adding the filling and sewing the skin, I prepared a marinade which I poured on top.

Marinade for Galopoula Gemisti:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mandarin juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • Oregano
  • 2 cups water
Turkey with vegetables image

Around the turkey I added, lots of vegetables, which I  used later on to make the gravy.

Vegetables for Galopoula Gemisti:

  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs celery
  • 6 carrots
  • Parsley ends (I kept them when making the filling)


The turkey was cooked covered with an aluminum tent  as above recipe.  I then removed the turkey from the baking tin and the vegetables and juices were puréed in food processor and then sieved.

How to make the gravy:

There are many ways to make a gravy but this is very simple. It starts with a roux and uses the pan drippings.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Juices from turkey drippings (about 3 – 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp butter


  1. In a skillet heat the olive oil and add the flour to make a roux.  
  2. That means that they should be mixed until the flour starts to take a light brown colour.  
  3. Then add all the turkey juices and stir until the sauce starts to thicken.  
  4. Finally add the butter and stir until the gravy thickens.
Christmas dinner image

Update” Christmas 2020

Baking Turkey without an Aluminium Tent

This year I wanted to make Hasselback potatoes, so I decided to bake the turkey without the aluminium tent.

Hasselback potatoes image

I brined the Turkey the usual way with a wet marinated. I bought a frozen turkey (it weighed 4 kilos) with a thermometre in it.

In the baking tray I added:

  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 organic vegetable bouillon
  • 1 cup white dry wine
  • I place a wire rack on top of the vegetables and added about 3 cups water or just enough to reach the level of the wire rack.
Vegetables with wire rack ion top mage

I tied the thighs of the Turkey and placed the wings under its back.  I then put a wire rack and placed the turkey on its back.

Turkey on the wire rack image

I lifted the skin of the turkey and added some butter (about 1 teaspoon) on each side of the breast.  I added about ½ tsp between each thigh and ½ tsp between each wing.  I then sprinkled some black pepper and oregano on top (no salt).

Adding butter under the skin image

I preheated the oven to 200o C and placed the baking rack on the lowest part of the oven. When I put the tray in, I reduced the temperature to 180oC.

While the turkey was baking, I clarified 120 grams butter and mixed in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.

I baked the turkey for one hour and removed it from the oven, closing the oven door immediately for the temperature not to drop.

I brushed the turkey with the butter and olive oil mixture and put it back in the oven for another hour.

I repeated the above procedure.  I saw that the turkey began browning, so I loosely covered it with aluminium foil making sure it did not touch the skin.

Basting the turkey with butter image

I baked it for another hour, checking to see if the thermometer popped out.  When it did, I removed it from the oven and placed the turkey on a cutting board for 30 minutes, before cutting it into pieces. (Don’t skip this procedure, as this helps to absorb its juices and makes the turkey meat juicy).

I cut the legs first and the wings.  I removed the bones, which I used the next day to make a turkey soup.

Then I removed the stuffing.  Finally I cut the breast into slices.  Leftover carcass was used to make the soup.

Turkey baked image

To make the gravy for Galopoula gemisti:

While basting the turkey with the butter, I checked if more water was necessary and added some when I saw that it was almost reduced.

After the turkey was baked, I strained the leftover juices from the baking tin.  I put the vegetables in a strainer and pressed them to extract all the juices.  I discarded the leftover puree.  I put the baking tin on the stove top, added a little of the juices and scraped the baking tin to get all the burnt pieces which were left on the baking tray.  I poured them back to the other juices.

In a small pot, I added about 3 tbsp leftover butter and oil from basting the turkey and enough flour to make a roux (as we do when making bechamel).  I added a cup of the leftover juices and tasted it.  I found it a bit salty, so I added some water and milk (about 1 cup in total) and mixed it until the gravy thickened. The gravy must not become too thick.

The leftover juices can be stored in the fridge to make more gravy, or use it as stock in other dishes.

Roasted turkey image

Galopoula Gemisti (Cypriot Stuffed Turkey)

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 5 hours

Galopoula Gemisti (pr. Ghah-loh-POU-lah Gheh-mee-STEE), is the Cypriot stuffed roasted turkey which is filled with finely chopped chicken giblets, rice, almonds and raisins 


  • 6 kilos turkey


  • 650 grams chicken livers and hearts only
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ cup white dry wine
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and blended
  • ½ cup rice (Carolina or arborio)
  • ½ cup almonds, skin on, coarsely crushed
  • ½ cup sultana raisins
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley

For the potatoes:

  • 2 kilos potatoes, cut into wedges
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (at will)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Fresh rosemary leaves


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Leftover juices from turkey drippings (about 3 - 4 cups). If not enough, add some chicken broth.
  • 1 tsp butter


  1. If you are buying a fresh turkey ask your butcher not to make a large incision, so you won't be having a lot to sew afterwards. If you are using a frozen one, make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator a couple of days before cooking it.
  2. Wash and clean both inside and outside. (This procedure is better done from the previous day as it takes a lot of time to have it ready).
  3. Brine the turkey.

Prepare the stuffing.

  1. Wash the giblets and let them drain from the water then cut them into small pieces (as small as possible).
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. In a large skillet heat the oil and slightly sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
  3. Add the chicken livers and sauté as well. Add wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Add, salt, pepper, cinnamon, parsley, almonds, raisins, tomatoes and the water and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, lower heat and stir until most of the fluids have been absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover with a napkin and let it cool.
  5. Place turkey in a large baking tin and season cavity with salt and pepper. Have a large needle and white thread ready for sewing. Stuff turkey's cavities (stomach and throat) with the filling and sew the skin.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and tie legs together loosely to hold shape of turkey and place in the tin breast facing down.
  7. Preheat oven to 180º C / 350º F.
  8. Peel and cut potatoes in quarters or eight pieces if potato is big and add salt, pepper, rosemary leaves and oregano. Add the olive oil, water and the lemon juice.
  9. Cover the baking tin with parchment paper and then wrap it with aluminum foil carefully so that steam will not escape.
  10. Bake for two and a half hours. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for another half an hour or until nice and golden. Turn the turkey and the potatoes over and bake uncovered, until golden on the other side as well.
  11. Remove the turkey from the baking tin and let it cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Before cutting remove the stuffing in a platter. Cut off the thighs and wings and then slice the breast into nice, thin slices.

To make the Gravy:

  1. In a skillet heat the olive oil and add the flour to make a roux. (That means
    that they should be stirred until the flour starts to take a light brown colour).
  2. Add the leftover turkey juices and stir until the sauce starts to thicken.
  3. Finally add the butter and stir until the gravy thickens.
Nutrition Information
Yield 15 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1122Total Fat 46gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 32gCholesterol 680mgSodium 972mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 4gSugar 7gProtein 130g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

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Wednesday 31st of March 2010

We usually cook ham on Christmas but will bookmark it for Thanksgiving as it sounds amazing.

Laurie Constantino

Friday 21st of December 2007

If you don't add salt to the stuffing, that might work to balance the salty turkey drippings. I've gone to baking the stuffing separately and moistening it with well-flavored turkey (or chicken) stock. It's worth it because the taste of brined turkey is so much better, at least in my family's opinion.


Thursday 20th of December 2007

Thanks for the link Laurie. Ok now I am torn. I decided to brine the turkey but the reason I stuff the turkey is for the stuffing. I wouldn't like to cook it separately. What if I brine the turkey and do not add salt in the stuffing, will it still be salty?

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