Christmas Dinner Main - Roast Turkey


Roberta's roast turkey recipe is a Christmas favourite. This delicious, easy to make turkey is flavoured with fresh herbed meat, butter, parsley, garlic. The butter mixed with the herbed meat under the skin will keep the breast meat moist and flavourful. Another secret is to rest the turkey for as long as it took to cook; as it relaxes, the juices are re-absorbed, making the meat succulent, tender and easier to carve. It may seem like a long time, but the texture will be improved the longer it is left to rest. Piping hot gravy will restore the heat. This recipe takes 3hrs to prepare and cook and serves between 8-10 people. Any leftovers would make a delicious curry or rolls the next day.


Christmas Roast Turkey:

  • 1 free-range turkey, around 5kg
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 4-5 carrots
  • Few celery sticks
  • 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 6 bay leaves
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 1kg minced pork shoulder
  • Bunch of thyme, rosemary, sage chopped
  • Dried fruits, cranberries, apricots chopped
  • Handful Chopped chestnuts

Parsley And Garlic Butter:

  • 375g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g butter to spread over the skin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 7 bacon rashes
  • 200ml sherry wine
  • 1 litre chicken stock


  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. Meanwhile, prepare the herbed pork shoulder butter. Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well, add crushed garlic, chopped parsley, chopped herbs & chopped dried fruit, orange zest and nuts Mix well to combine.
  • Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, orange, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
  • With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter meat underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs - from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
  • Stuff half the mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the mix around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
  • Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up with onions, carrots and celery underneath. Spread some butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. (If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate at this stage.)
  • Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 180°C/Gas 4 and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally.
  • To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. As oven temperatures and turkey shapes and sizes vary, it is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
  • Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson’s nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for as long as it took to cook; make the gravy in the meantime. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving.
  • When the resting time's nearly up, skim off the surface fat from the roasting tray, chop the onions and garlic inside the cavity, chop the bacon rashes into the tray,
  • Add sherry wine and chicken broth to it, and let it reduce and simmer for another 30/40 min until it thickens up. When the gravy starts to thicken, strain it into a bowl.
  • Carve your turkey and serve with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.

About the Preca Sisters

The Preca Sisters

Coca-Cola is collaborating with Roberta and Ramona to bring you mouthwatering gourmet recipes you can make at home for your family and friends. Enjoy a Coca-Cola with these delicious recipes.

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