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

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

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(19 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


  • butter, for greasing



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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)



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

For the stuffing

  • 25g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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 onions, 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 cloves, 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…

  • 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, questions and tips

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9th Jan, 2011
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
5th Jan, 2011
Forgot to rate it. 5 stars all the way.
5th Jan, 2011
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.
26th Dec, 2010
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!
29th Sep, 2010
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.
13th Dec, 2009
I used half of the ingridients. Wery tasty. Good for festive dinner.
9th Oct, 2009
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!
19th Dec, 2008
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)
6th Mar, 2008
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!
29th Dec, 2007
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!


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