Creamy lemon, pancetta & rosemary turkey

Creamy lemon, pancetta & rosemary turkey

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(12 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 3 hrs - 3 hrs, 45 mins


Serves 8 - 10
For a perfectly moist and succulent turkey, follow Emma Lewis's tips for a creamy mascarpone stuffing

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal618
  • fat31g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs3g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein80g
  • salt1.17g


  • 4½ -5kg oven-ready turkey, thawed if frozen, giblets removed



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 25g pack each rosemary and thyme



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • 2 lemons, finely zested



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

  • 80g pack sliced pancetta, chopped



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

  • 150g pot mascarpone
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced



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

For the gravy

  • 1 tbsp flour



    Flour is usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As the main…

  • 100ml white wine
  • 600ml turkey or chicken stock


  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Wash the turkey and pat dry. Strip the leaves from half the rosemary and thyme stalks and finely chop. In a bowl, combine the lemon zest, chopped herbs, pancetta and mascarpone. Season well.

  2. Halve the zested lemons and stuff into the cavity, along with the remaining herb sprigs. Use your hand to loosen the skin lying over the breast of the turkey, to create a pocket. Push the mascarpone mixture under the breast skin to create a thick, even layer.

  3. Put the onion slices into a large, flameproof roasting tin, place the turkey on top and cover loosely with foil. Cook for 3-3¾ hrs, until the juices of the bird run clear. Baste every 30 mins and uncover for the last 30 mins if needed, to brown the bird. When cooked, take the turkey from the oven, remove from the tin and leave to rest on a platter, covered loosely with foil, for 30 mins.

  4. To make the gravy, pour away any excess fat from the roasting tin and discard the onion slices. Set the tin over a medium heat, then sprinkle over the flour. Stir through and cook for 2 mins. Slowly whisk in the wine and stock. Bring to a boil, scraping the bits from the bottom, then simmer over a low heat for 15 mins. Serve the gravy with the turkey.

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Comments, questions and tips

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11th Aug, 2013
Love this recipe and have made it three times now! The lemon and herbs infuse the whole of the turkey to give a beautiful taste and the mascarpone leaves the meat really moist and creamy!
14th Mar, 2012
This is a great recipe.
11th Dec, 2011
This is an amazing recipe, the turkey is wonderfully moist and the lemon permeates subtly through the meat. Have made this for the past 4 years but this year I am going to try the Italian turkey recipe in the 2011 magazine as a lot of the ingredients are the same. Hope its as good!
27th Feb, 2011
Made this for Christmas 2010 and it was amazing. I left it a little late and by the time it was ready it was late and everyone was quite full from all the other dishes, however it was devoured by all. The turkey was really moist. Didn't bother with the gravy. Will definitely make again.
23rd Nov, 2010
Sorry but this is going to be one of those reviews where you end up thinking "they changed so many ingredients that it was almost a different recipe"! However, I replaced the turkey with a chicken and pancetta with bacon and scaled down the other ingredients but it was still absolutely delicious. The family didn't know it should have been turkey but still suggested using the recipe for our Christmas turkey so I guess that is a vote of confidence.
30th Jan, 2009
This was quite nice but I'll use another recipe for the turkey next Christmas.
13th Jan, 2009
First time ever cooking turkey and it came out great. Carol, I read it as strip half the thyme and rosemary leafs and that worked fine.
10th Dec, 2008
Can anyone make sense of recipe instruction number 2? It says 'strip the leaves from half the bowl' Does it mean to say strip the leaves from half of the herb thyme and rosemary?
3rd Nov, 2008
I made a similar recipe to this quite a few years ago might even be the same recipe. I loved it im going to make this again :-)
16th Jan, 2008
This was voted the best Christmas turkey I have ever cooked by the whole family. Will certainly do it again next year.


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