Pancetta-wrapped turkey breast with herby lemon & pine nut stuffing

Pancetta-wrapped turkey breast with herby lemon & pine nut stuffing

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(16 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs


Serves 6-8, plus leftovers
No need for impressive carving skills with this easy-to-serve dish with creamy gravy

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen uncooked


  • kcal850
  • fat43.5g
  • saturates16.2g
  • carbs18.6g
  • sugars6g
  • fibre1g
  • protein96g
  • salt2.96g
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  • butter, for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 20 rashers pancetta (2 x 70g/2oz packs) or thinly sliced streaky bacon



    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

  • 3kg 6lbs 8oz butterflied turkey breast (see know-how below)



    The traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round though is only readily…

For the stuffing

  • 25g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 large onion, halved and sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 140g pack pancetta cubes or bacon lardons



    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

  • 50g pine nut
  • 4 garlic clove, chopped
  • 25g pack sage, leaves only, roughly chopped



    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • zest 2 lemons



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 2 x 20g/1oz packs flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 100g coarse white breadcrumb
  • 1 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

For the gravy

  • 300ml dry white wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 142ml pot double cream
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


  1. First prepare the stuffing. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, then soften the onion without colouring for 10 mins. Tip into a bowl. Add the pancetta or bacon to the pan, fry for 5 mins until golden, then add the pine nuts, garlic, sage and lemon zest. Fry for 1 min more until fragrant and the pine nuts are starting to brown. Stir in the chopped parsley. Tip into the bowl with the onions, then bind with the crumbs, egg and seasoning.

  2. Butter and season a sheet of turkey foil or use 2 sheets of foil crimped together to make a sheet about 50 x 60cm. Lay five long pieces of string over the foil like rungs of a ladder, ready to tie the breast together. Arrange the pancetta or bacon in a lattice over the middle of the foil, on top of the string.

  3. Open out the butterflied breast, skin-side down, and slash each side several times. Cover with cling film and bash with a rolling pin until the meat is about 5cm thick all over. Trim the sides so that you have a roughly rectangular shape (but be careful not to cut the skin). Lift onto the pancetta, then fill any gaps with the trimmings. Season, then press the stuffing along the middle of the joint. Pull up the sides at one end, tucking in the short end, then tie the string tightly so that the stuffing is encased. Repeat with all the strings. Wrap up tightly in the foil, then turn the roll over so that the pancetta is on the top. Can be left in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  4. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Sit the joint in a roasting tin and roast for 40 mins per kg or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out very hot and the juices run clear. Unwrap for the last 10 mins of cooking.

  5. Lift the joint onto a board and leave to rest, covered, for at least 10 mins. For the gravy, heat the tin on the hob, then splash in the wine and any juices. Reduce by half, then add the stock and repeat. Pour in the cream and bubble to a slightly reduced sauce. Season to taste, then stir in the parsley.

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Comments (20)

wilsok's picture

Great recipe, tasted lovely. Would recommend a bit more stuffing even if it does not all fit, it tastes just as great as a side, really impressed!!!

chilton's picture

Was well received by my guests and have done it again and froze it for later. It was more difficult than I thought and needed more stuffing.

alizonc's picture

Made this for Xmas dinner 2012. Very nice, lovely fresh stuffing and pine nuts added a nutty crunch. Didn't make the gravy as I used Jamie's turkey gravy recipe as usual. This turkey recipe will go into my Xmas folder to be made again!

gabi1963's picture

Can't wait to try this for Christmas dinner in 5 days time! Really thankful for all the previous comments where folks suggest freezing it ready to cook on the day as my bird is vacu-packed with a use by date of 28th.... I just don't like the thought of poultry meat that old!!! ;-) Will rate when we've eaten it!

chilton's picture

Made this a couple of years ago and thought I would do it again and this time have done more stuffing it was well received last time so hopefully will be this time serving it early February so it is now in the freezer

lizdavies64's picture

I made this for Christmas last year, but instead of the pine nut stuffing used the recipe for "cranberry & sausagemeat" stuffing (minus the chestnuts). It was delicious.

maurela55's picture

Had ordered a turkey crown about 2 months ago and when we went to collect it on Wednesday before Christmas, I was faced with turkey breasts. I was very disappointed and couldn't think what to do. I put turkey breast into the search engine and came up with this recipe. What a life-saver. It looked just like the picture and sliced perfectly. The taste was superb. Thank you

freddy-1's picture

Can the stuffing be cooked separately. ?

sylveb's picture

I made this for Sunday lunch this week. We were 15 so I did 2 joints - it was delicious and i got lots of positive comments. I think i will make a pie with the leftovers!

chrisgalea's picture

Very tasty and the turkey did not dry out. I did add cream to the gravy and it was still good. Will def do again

coughkar's picture

Forgot to rate it. 5 stars all the way.

coughkar's picture

This really is a delicious dish. Easy enough to make. Praise heaped from all sides. Used brown rice instead of pine nuts due to allergies. Stuffing was really tasty. Definitely would recommend.

evelynjcooper's picture

We had this for our Christmas lunch. I prepared it about 3 weeks beforehand and put it in the freezer to reduce the workload. I found it quite hard to tie up without the filling falling out and I couldn't get my version to look anything like the picture! It tasted fine, if you're a turkey lover, but I will probably not do this recipe again and I found the preparation too fiddley and the result didn't look very neat!

pipmister's picture

I used this recipe at work with a few alterations and it woorked very well it made a nice summer main meal for a resturant. one trick is to prick the joint and rub butter into it before roasting keeps the meat suculent.

rimarap's picture

I used half of the ingridients. Wery tasty. Good for festive dinner.

nicnaknoonah's picture

This was really tasty, halved the ingredients and used chicken instead didnt make the gravy thought it would be too rich.
I will definately be making this again and will be making it for christmas dinner as its easy to make and stress free!

thoadmal's picture

I cooked this yas year (2007) It was easy prepared beforehand and cooked on the day. Everyone enjoyed it and have asked for it again this year (2008)

ghensler's picture

I made this for our Xmas dinner it was fantastic and everyone loved it. I made more stuffing than was mentioned in the receipe and had some in a bowl as extra. Didnt do the gravy made my own def wouldnt put cream in a gravy too rich with everything else that is going on with an Xmas dinner! It was absolutely delicious made in advance and froze so that only needed to cook it on the day. Will defintely make again really stunner on the plate!

nuffinbuttrouble's picture

Also the gravy recipe just didn't work at all, far too much cream, there were several oh so funny jokes about passing the turkey custard!

nuffinbuttrouble's picture

I thought this was only ok, there wasn't enough stuffing for the size of the turkey and the method seemed more complicated than it need be. Everyone was pleased enough with it though.

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