RECIPE: Traditional Roast Turkey

This is a really simple recipe – perfect for turkey-cooking beginners.

To ensure this is a stand out bird despite the few ingredients, buy a proper old fashioned broad-breasted Bronze turkey which has lived a free ranging and natural existence. The more natural the turkey, the tastier it will be on the plate. The same goes for the streaky bacon, make sure it is from naturally reared free range or outdoor native breed pigs which have had a happy and high welfare life.


Free range turkey (size will depend on how many you are feeding)
5-10 rashers of streaky bacon
Knob of butter
2 onions, cut in half
1 lemon, cut in half
Fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Rub the skin with plenty of butter and pepper and cover the breast with lots of streaky bacon. Scatter a handful of roughly chopped fresh herbs over the skin, then put bigger sprigs inside the cavity along with the halved onion and lemon.

2. Make a big tin foil cross inside your roasting pan, place the turkey in the middle and wrap the foil around to make a loose but closed parcel.

3. Cook at 220°C / 425°F / Mark 7 for 40 mins. Reduce heat to 170°C / 325°F / Mark 3 and cook for approximately a further 3hrs (small turkey), 3.5hrs (medium), 4.5hrs (large) and 5 hrs (X-large).

3. Uncover for the last 30 minutes to crisp the bacon. Stick a long skewer in the fleshiest part to test for doneness; the juices should run clear. If using a meat thermometer the reading should be at least 75°C Rest it for half an hour before carving.