A serving dish with crispy-skinned roast turkey with lemon & garlic

Roast turkey with lemon & garlic

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Prep: 30 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 25 mins Plus resting and up to 2 days brining

Easy

Serves 8

Love crispy skin on roast turkey at Christmas? You'll be fan of this recipe which uses storecupboard ingredients to make a festive favourite even more special

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal679
  • fat33g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs2g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre0g
  • protein94g
  • salt4.8g
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Ingredients

  • 5-6kg oven-ready turkey, neck and giblets removed and kept for the gravy
    Turkey

    Turkey

    terk-ee

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

  • 1 onion, halved
    Onion

    Onion

    un-yun

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

  • 1 lemon, halved (save the zest for the butter)
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

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

  • whole bulb of garlic, halved
    Garlic

    Garlic

    gar-lik

    Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most…

For the salt mix

  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns

For the butter

  • 100g butter
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

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

  • 4 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder (we used Marigold)
  • 1 lemon, zested (from the lemon for the turkey)
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

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

Method

  1. Up to two days ahead, make the salt mix by grinding the salt with the thyme leaves and pepper in a spice grinder or using a pestle and mortar. Sit the turkey in a roasting tin and gently push your fingers under the skin, starting from the neck, until you can push your whole hand in down the length of the breast. Take care not to tear the skin.

  2. Season the bird all over with the salt mix, inside and out and under the skin. Leave the turkey in the tin, breast-side up, and put in the fridge for up to two days – the longer you salt it, the more succulent the turkey will be. For the crispest skin, leave the turkey uncovered so it dries out, but loosely cover it if you prefer.

  3. Tip the butter, vegetable stock powder and lemon zest into a small bowl and mix until completely combined. Cover and chill. Can be made a few days ahead or frozen, wrapped in cling film, for one month.

  4. Remove the turkey from the fridge an hour or so before you want to cook it. Remove the butter from the fridge to soften. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Work out your cooking time based on 40 mins per kg for the first 4kg, plus 45 mins for every kg after that.

  5. Use your hands to spread the butter under the skin so that it covers the entire breast area and work it into the crevice between the thigh and the main body, then smooth the skin over with your hands. Put the onion, lemon halves, and garlic in the cavity.

  6. Cover the tin loosely with foil and roast for the calculated cooking time. Around 30 mins before the end of cooking, increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, remove the foil, baste the turkey and return to the oven. When the turkey is beautifully brown and cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to rest on a warm platter covered with foil for up to 1 hr.  Save the juices from the tin to make gravy.

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