This Christmas turkey recipe combines the white meat with lemon and garlic to prevent it becoming dry. With lemon and garlic bulbs both inside the bird and roasted around it, the turkey takes on plenty of flavour which is complemented with a lemon, parsley and thyme stuffing. Our easy recipe also shows you how to make a turkey gravy with the juices so none of the flavor from this delicious roast is wasted. A buttered muslin is also used to baste the turkey for an extra moist finish. The turkey takes approx 3 hours to cook but you can work it out according to the weight of yours by using our turkey timer tool.
- For the turkey
- 3.5-4.5kg British turkey, giblets removed
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges (use zested rind for stuffing)
- 1 bulb of garlic, halved
- 150g butter, melted
- Few sprigs of thyme
- For the roasted lemon and garlic:
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
- 3-4 bulbs of garlic, halved
- For the stuffing
- 250g fresh white breadcrumbs
- Zested rind of 2 lemons
- 6-8tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- 2tbsps freshly chopped thyme
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 100g butter, melted
- For the gravy
- 2-3tbsp cornflour
- Strained juices from the turkey
- 3-4tbsp white or red wine
- Gravy browning, optional
- Salt and ground black pepper
- You will also need:
- Piece of muslin, large enough to cover the turkey
- Set the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
- To make the stuffing: Tip the breadcrumbs into a bowl and add the lemon zest, parsley, thyme and seasoning, and mix well. Add the eggs and melted butter to the bowl and mix until the ingredients bind together. Stuff the neck cavity of the turkey with it and shape any remaining mixture into balls and place them on a small, buttered baking tray.
- Weigh the stuffed turkey, to calculate the cooking time. Allow 20 mins per kg, plus 90 mins. After the turkey is cooked, it’s best to leave it to rest for about 30 mins before carving it, so add this on to the cooking time when you’re working out what time to put it into the oven.
- Put the de-rinded lemon wedges and the halved bulb of garlic inside the turkey cavity and place it in a large roasting tin. Add a few sprigs of thyme on top. Dip the muslin into the melted butter and coat it well with butter, then drape it over the turkey. Place the turkey in the oven for the calculated cooking time. About 30-40 mins before the end of the cooking time, add the lemon wedges and garlic for roasting to the tin,
- and baste them with the juices that have come out of the turkey. Then return the tin to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.
- To test if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the flesh on the thigh with a skewer. If the juices that run out are clear then it’s cooked, but if there is still any pinkness, then continue cooking. Or if you have a probe thermometer, the temperature in the thickest part of the flesh should be at least 75°C.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and cover the tin with a sheet of foil, then leave in a warm place for about 30 mins before serving. This allows meat fibres time to relax, making it easier to carve and a better texture for eating. Any stuffing balls may be cooked in the oven for 20-30 mins after the turkey has been taken out, until they’re a light golden colour. Strain the juices left in the pan, skim off any fat and use these juices to make the gravy.
- Peel the muslin off the turkey before carving it.
To make the gravy:
- Mix the cornflour with 3 tbsp water.
- Use 1 litre juices, or make up to a litre with boiling water if
- you don’t have that amount. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Stir in the slaked cornflour, mixing well, and season to taste. Add gravy browning, if you want.
Time your turkey perfectly with our turkey timer!
Top tip for making Lemon and garlic turkey
Any cold meat and stuffing left over can be packed in freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 mths. Allow it to thoroughly defrost before serving cold. Or reheat well to serve hot.