Christmas Turkey Recipe


Say farewell to dry, tasteless turkey my friends. This recipe will give you juicy, tender meat just perfect for leftovers on Stephen’s Day. You can be the turkey king in your household.



6-8kg turkey

Rosemary, bay and thyme sprigs

2-3 carrots

3 onions, peeled

1 celery stick

1 leek

2 lemons

2 clementines

For the butter:

250g of butter

3 sprigs of thyme, chopped

2 sprigs of sage, chopped

6 cloves of smoked garlic, crushed

A small glug of olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt and ground black pepper


First things first, make sure your turkey is going to fit into the oven. Does it? Good. You’re going to need a roasting tin that’s big enough for the bird with room to spare, and deep enough to catch all the fat and cooking juices.

Make a note of the weight of your bird, and check it again if you have scales big enough at home. Knowing the exact weight will ensure the cooking time is correct, and will avoid an overcooked and dry bird, or a raw one. Get your timings right. Don’t forget that the turkey needs to come out of the oven an hour before carving to rest.

Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time (about 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz).

Get your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before you cook it. You’ll get less shrinkage when it goes into a hot oven,

For the butter, allow it to come to room temperature and mix all your ingredients into it with a spoon. Spoon the flavoured butter into a piping bag.

Get your turkey and use a spoon to work your way between the skin and the meat. Start at the side of the cavity just above the leg and work gently up towards the breastbone and towards the back so you create a large cavity. Pipe in half of your butter and push it into the cavity you’ve created.

Use your hands to massage it through the skin right to the back so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Do the same on the other side then rub any leftover butter all over the outside of the bird to use it up. You can do this the day before.

Make a vegetable trivet with the carrots, onion, celery and leek by chopping them roughly and placing them on your roasting tray.

Now place your thyme, rosemary, bay, lemons and clementines into the cavity. Season the turkey heavily with salt and black pepper.

Remember to preheat the oven for 20mins before cooking. Cook the turkey at 180C/350oF/gas 4 using the guidelines given above

Every 30 minutes take the turkey out and baste it with the beautiful juices to stop it from drying out. If you find the skin starting to colour too much don’t be afraid to cover it in tin foil to prevent this.

Once cooked take the turkey out, cover in tinfoil and 3 or 4 tea towels. Allow to rest for 1 hour so all the juices run back into the meat. While resting you can crack on with your sides and gravy. Slice the bird up and enjoy!

Perfect turkey all day, everrrry day.

If you are stuck you can use the Safefood Turkey Timing Calculator,-Diet-and-Health/Seasonal-Features/Christmas-tips-and-advice/Turkey-cooking-time-calculator.aspx


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