One of the most impressive ways to present a roast turkey topped with bacon. The perfect Christmas special feast.
Turkey topped with bacon is a beautiful-looking centerpiece for the Christmas table, but it’s not just about looks. As the bacon cooks, it drips hot, salty bacon fat over the turkey breast. It bathes it in flavour, keeps the meat moist and tender underneath, and forms a lovely crisp skin over the top. This recipe is great for people who are not overly keen on turkey – perhaps finding it bland or dry. The bacon adds so much flavour it can help to turn ambivalent diners into turkey lovers.
- 1 turkey, about 5.5kg
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 bulb of garlic, cut in half through the middle
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 onions, quartered
- 2 celery sticks, cut into chunks
- 50g butter, softened
- 16 rashers of streaky bacon
Make sure the giblets are removed from the turkey. Put the lemon, garlic and bay leaves in the cavity.
Put the chopped veg in a large roasting tray and arrange so the turkey can sit on top. This will ensure the bird doesn’t burn on the bottom, and it will also add flavour. Put the turkey on top of the veg and tuck the wings underneath the breasts. Rub the legs and sides of the bird with butter.
For the lattice, lay 8 rashers of bacon side by side down the length of the turkey breast. Working left to right, fold every other rasher in half and lay another horizontally in the centre. Fold back the bacon rashers and repeat with the alternate rashers until the top and bottom of the breast are fully covered with bacon.
Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. Pour 200ml water into the base of the roasting tray underneath the turkey to prevent the bacon from shrinking immediately and burning. Roast for 30 mins, then reduce the heat to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3 and roast for a further 2 hrs. To check the turkey is done, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the breast or thigh; if the juices run clear and there’s no pink, the turkey is done. If not, return to the oven for a further 15 mins and check again.
Transfer the turkey to a large board or serving platter. Cover tightly with foil and 2 clean tea towels to retain the heat, and allow it to rest for about 30 mins.
Top tips for making turkey topped with bacon
It's best to prepare your bacon-topped turkey on the morning that you are cooking it, not the night before. The bacon can dry out on the turkey if left overnight.