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Roast turkey

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for roast turkey, perfect for Christmas or Thanksgiving.

By Emma Knowles, Lisa Featherby & Adelaide Lucas
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs cooking plus cooling, resting
  • Serves 8
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Roast turkey
Covering the turkey breasts with overlapping slices of pancetta helps to retain the moisture in the meat while the legs cook (quite often the breasts will dry out before the legs are cooked). You could also use a larding thread and insert pork fat into the breast for extra juiciness, if desired.


  • 1 turkey (about 4kg, see note)
  • 16 thin slices speck or flat pancetta
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 500 ml (2 cups) brown chicken or veal stock
  • 16 small nicola potatoes, halved
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into wedges
  • 12 large green olives
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
Sausage stuffing
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 blood sausages, skins removed, coarsely crumbled
  • 3 pork and fennel sausages (about 400gm), skins removed
  • 320 gm coarse breadcrumbs, from crusty white bread
  • ½ orange, freshly grated rind only
  • 1 tbsp each finely chopped thyme and sage


  • 1
    Remove neck and giblets from turkey, rinse bird inside and out, pat dry with absorbent paper, cover with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 180C. For sausage stuffing, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and fennel seeds and cook until onion is soft and starting to colour (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cool, then add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Season with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper and set aside.
  • 3
    Stuff cavity of turkey and pocket of neck with sausage stuffing. Tie legs securely with kitchen string and tuck wings behind turkey shoulders. Lay speck, alternating from one breast to another, so they overlap on a slight diagonal. Drizzle olive oil over legs and rub into skin. Add stock to a large roasting pan, place turkey on wire rack inside pan and roast for 1 hour. Remove from oven, add potato, fennel, olives and herbs to pan, spoon pan juices over vegetables and roast until vegetables are tender and turkey is cooked to your liking (45 minutes for cooked breast and just cooked thigh to 1 hour for well-done breast and thigh).
  • 4
    Remove turkey from pan, cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve turkey with pan vegetables and juices.


Apricot and almond stuffing
Soak 10 dried apricots in warmed botrytis wine until soft, drain (reserve liquid), finely chop and transfer to a bowl. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then add 1 finely chopped onion, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and 100gm almond slivers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and starting to colour and almonds are turning golden (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat, add almond mixture to apricots and cool. Add 400gm coarse breadcrumbs and a handful of coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, sage and oregano. Mix well to combine, then stuff into cavity of turkey and pocket of neck before roasting. Add the reserved botrytis and some halved fresh apricots to turkey juices in roasting pan during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Drink Suggestion: Sparkling shiraz. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • undefined: Emma Knowles, Lisa Featherby & Adelaide Lucas