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Rosemary & lemon butter-roasted turkey


Serves: 8-10 with leftovers
timePrep time: 20 mins, plus basting
timeTotal time:
Rosemary & lemon butter-roasted turkey
Recipe photograph by Martin Poole

Rosemary & lemon butter-roasted turkey

A simple herb and citrus butter keeps the turkey meat deliciously succulent throughout cooking, and prosecco gravy finishes it off. Butter the turkey the day before roasting, to keep things simpler on the day .

Serves: 8-10 with leftovers
timePrep time: 20 mins, plus basting
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (Per 150g)
Calories
225Kcal
Fat
8gr
Saturates
4gr
Carbs
1gr
Sugars
1gr
Fibre
0gr
Protein
34gr
Salt
0.4gr

Tamsin Burnett-Hall

Tamsin Burnett-Hall

Tamsin learned the tricks of the trade from cookery legend Delia Smith. A trusted recipe writer for the magazine for over 25 years, she is now our Cookery Workflow Editor, overseeing testing and editing to ensure that every recipe tastes great, is straightforward to follow and works without fail. In her home kitchen, Tamsin creates fuss-free flavour-packed food for friends and family, with baking being her ultimate form of comfort cooking
See more of Tamsin Burnett-Hall’s recipes
Tamsin Burnett-Hall

Tamsin Burnett-Hall

Tamsin learned the tricks of the trade from cookery legend Delia Smith. A trusted recipe writer for the magazine for over 25 years, she is now our Cookery Workflow Editor, overseeing testing and editing to ensure that every recipe tastes great, is straightforward to follow and works without fail. In her home kitchen, Tamsin creates fuss-free flavour-packed food for friends and family, with baking being her ultimate form of comfort cooking
See more of Tamsin Burnett-Hall’s recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 x 6kg turkey, defrosted if frozen (don’t forget to remove any giblets)
  • 1 x 20g pack rosemary, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 125g very soft butter
  • a few bay leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • 3 onions, halved
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthways
  • 2 celery sticks, rinsed
  • a roll of extra-wide foil
  • 200ml prosecco (or wine or cider)

Step by step

Get ahead
Prepare to the end of step 3 the day before. 
  1. Remove the bindings from the turkey. Finely chop the leaves from a few sprigs of rosemary, to get 2 tablespoons. Finely grate the zest from 1 lemon and combine with the butter, the rosemary and some seasoning. Cut the lemon in half; tuck the halves inside the turkey with the rest of the rosemary sprigs, the bay leaves and one of the halved onions.
  2. Using your hands (wearing disposable gloves if you wish), carefully work your way between the skin and the breast meat of the turkey (start from the flap of skin that is tucked under the bird, at the ‘closed’ end, where the neck was), to loosen and lift the skin (you can leave it attached down the central breastbone). Put about a third of the herby butter on each side of the breast, then, from outside the skin, massage it to cover the breast evenly. Rub the rest of the butter all over the legs and skin.
  3. Put the remaining onion halves, carrots and celery in the base of a large roasting tin (these will caramelise and enrich the roasting juices, as the basis for your gravy). Sit the turkey on top, cut the second lemon in half and add these to the tin, then cover it loosely with extra wide foil. You can prepare to this point on the day before roasting. A 6kg turkey will take about 31⁄2 hours, plus resting time (at which point you’ll finish cooking/reheating all your accompaniments).
  4. Take the turkey out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking, to take off some of the chill. Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Season the turkey skin lightly.
  5. Put the turkey in the oven and leave to cook for 1 hour. Lift the foil and baste with the buttery juices, then re-cover and return to the oven. Cook for a further 2 hours, basting every 30-45 minutes.
  6. Pour the prosecco into the tin, around the turkey. Return to the oven for a final 30 minutes, removing the foil if the skin hasn’t browned sufficiently. To test if the turkey is cooked, first give the leg a wiggle; if it’s quite stiff still, it’s not cooked, so return to the oven for 15 minutes before checking again (re-cover if necessary). If it’s fairly loose, then pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer to check that the juices are clear and not at all pink. If you have a temperature probe, it needs to reach 74°C. Cook a little longer if you need to.
  7. When the turkey is ready, take it out of the oven, cover with foil and then a couple of tea-towels to keep it warm while you finish everything else. It can rest for up to 2 hours and still remain hot. See our tips for how to make a cheat’s gravy with the roasting juices.
  8. To serve, ask for help with lifting the turkey to a carving board or warmed platter. Garnish with extra rosemary sprigs, bay leaves and the roast lemons if you wish, or with trimmings such as pigs-in- blankets, or stuffing balls. Serve triumphantly!
  9. The easiest way to carve the turkey is to first remove the legs and the wings. Divide these at the joints, then lift to a warmed dish. Use your carving knife to remove each breast as a whole piece from the bird, then slice it thinly.

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