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Bay leaf and lemon myrtle roast turkey

Level up your Christmas table centrepiece with this Australian-inspired roast turkey recipe.

By Dominic Smith
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs cooking (plus brining, cooling, resting)
  • Serves 6 - 8
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For Christmas with a distinctly Australian feel, try this lemon myrtle and bay leaf brine, which infuses the turkey with flavour and ensures it stays tender and juicy. Begin this recipe 1-2 days ahead.
Want more Christmas turkey recipes? Check out our best roast turkey recipes here.


  • 500 gm raw caster sugar
  • 400 gm fine salt
  • 24 each fresh bay leaves and dried lemon myrtle leaves, plus extra leaves, to serve
  • 2 lemons, peeled into strips
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 5 kg turkey
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Beef jus, to serve (see note)
  • 300 gm coarse stale sourdough breadcrumbs, we use Sonoma miche
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2½ tbsp each finely chopped sage and flat-leaf parsley
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 150 gm dried cranberries
  • 3 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed


  • 1
    For brine, combine sugar, salt, bay, lemon myrtle, lemon peel and pepper with 8 litres of water in a large stockpot, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat; then cool. Submerge turkey in brine, use a large heavy plate to weight down and refrigerate for at least 24 hours (see note). Five hours before cooking, remove turkey from brine, drain and pat dry with paper towel.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for stuffing, place ingredients in a large bowl, season to taste and using your hands, mix to combine. Spoon stuffing into turkey cavity, truss legs with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips under backbone.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180˚C. Place a wire rack in a large deep roasting pan. Place turkey on top, brush with oil and season to taste. Add 500ml water to pan and roast, rotating pan occasionally until golden brown and just cooked through (1¾ hours –2 hours); cover loosely with foil to keep warm and rest for 20 minutes before serving.
  • 4
    To serve, scatter a large platter with extra sprigs of bay leaves and top with turkey. Serve with hot beef jus on the side.


The brine maintains moisture during cooking. The resting period allows juices to reabsorb and should never be skipped. Beef jus is available from select supermarkets and specialty food shops.