Christmas Lemon And Herb Turkey

Lemon and herb turkey recipe Lemon and herb turkey recipe

There is something wonderfully satisfying about putting a beautiful turkey sitting in the middle of the table on Christmas day and serving your salivating family. If cooked properly the turkey can be a deliciously moist bird which can be enjoyed by all the family. Plan every aspect of your Christmas cookery carefully and meticulously and then you can relax a little more on the actual day.


10 people 0 minutes 60 minutes


  • 100 g Butter
  • 3 large Carrots , halved lenghthways
  • 1 head Garlic , halved
  • 1 medium Lemon , zest
  • 2 large Onions , roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Sage
  • 1 tbsp Thyme
  • 7 kg Turkey

For the lemon and herb sausage meat stuffing

  • 400 g Dried Apricots , chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic , crushed
  • 1 medium Lemon zest
  • 1 medium Onion , finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Sage
  • 1 tbsp Salt and Pepper
  • 450 g Sausage Meat
  • 1 tbsp Thyme

For the traditional stuffing

  • 450 g Breadcrumbs
  • 150 g Butter
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 2 tbsp Parsley , chopped
  • 2 tbsp Sage , chopped
  • 1 tbsp Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Thyme , chopped


On Christmas Eve:

  1. Prepare the traditional stuffing. This will go in the main cavity.
  2. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan with the onion for 2-4 minutes until translucent. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, chopped herbs and lemon zest. Pour over the onion and butter mixture and stir well. Season the stuffing and allow the stuffing to cool completely in the bowl overnight.
  4. Prepare the sausage meat stuffing. This will go in the neck cavity.
  5. In a large bowl mix together the sausage meat, dried apricots, lemon zest, onion, garlic, herbs and season well with salt and pepper.  Keep aside covered until needed.
  6. In a small bowl, beat the 100g of butter with the lemon zest and thyme until pliable texture. Then, on the turkey, from the neck cavity (or wishbone cavity), using your finger very gently loosen up the skin attached to the breast (be careful not the burst or slit the skin!). Push in the lemon and herb butter.
  7. Pack the sausage meat stuffing in the neck cavity to give a smooth shape. Any excess roll in a baking parchment paper into a pudding shape then warp in tin foil to roast with the turkey the next morning. Place the turkey  and stuffing back in the refrigerator for the night.

On Christmas morning:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C.
  2. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and finish to stuff the turkey.
  3. Line the main cavity with some baking parchment paper and loosely pack the bread stuffing into the bird.
  4. If possible , using kitchen twine, tie the legs together with the pygostyle or “pope’s nose” to keep the legs thighs while roasting.
  5. Don’t forget to weight the turkey again with the stuffing enclosed. (to assist with accurate calculations for the cooking times etc) – it should be 30 minutes plus 40 minutes per kg. for a 7kg turkey, it should take about 5 hours and 30 minutes. You can also set a digital probe by the leg of the turkey and it should read 70˚C.
  6. Prepare the roasting tray; place at the bottom of the tray the giblets, onions, carrots and the garlic head to create a “raft” for the turkey and gravy later on.
  7. When ready place the turkey in the oven, season with salt and pepper. Roast according to the weight of the stuffed turkey. After the first two hours, loosely cover the turkey with tin foil to prevent excessive browning.
  8. Remove the turkey from the oven, lift away from the roasting tray onto a carving board, and again cover with loose tin foil. Allow the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving while doing the gravy using the roasting tray trimming.
  9. Carve and enjoy.


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