Olive Magazine
Turkey Recipe with Bay and Lemon Stuffing

Bay and lemon turkey with buttery leek stuffing

Published: September 10, 2015 at 2:23 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + overnight brining
  • A little effort
  • Serves 8

Make our easy turkey recipe with flavours of lemon and bay, plus a buttery leek stuffing. Overnight dry brining in flavoured salt will concentrate flavours, give you juicier meat and help the skin crisp up. Start this the day before, and you'll be laughing come Christmas Day...


Try this easy turkey recipe with leek stuffing, then check out our roast turkey, turkey crown, turkey gravy and more Christmas turkey recipes.


  • olive oil

  • 1 turkey, about 5kg
  • 2 large onions, 1 cut into thick slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 350ml
 white wine
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml
 dark chicken stock


  • 3 tbsp sea salt
  • from 3 sprigs thyme leaves
  • 3 bay leaves, finely sliced
  • 2 lemons, zested


  • 500g leeks, washed thoroughly and sliced
  • 50g 
  • 1 ciabatta, crusts trimmed and pulsed to chunky breadcrumbs
  • a handful of leaves sage, chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  • STEP 1

    Put the turkey in a large dish or tray. Mix the salt, herbs and lemon zest and rub all over the skin. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge. The next day, take out the turkey and brush off the salt with damp kitchen paper. Leave out of the fridge for an hour before roasting so it comes up to room temp.

  • STEP 2

    To make the stuffing, cook the leeks in the butter until softened and then add the breadcrumbs, sage and egg and mix well.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Stuff the neck end with the leek stuffing. Secure the neck skin with skewers to hold the stuffing in. Put any leftover stuffing in a buttered dish and scatter with sage leaves. Season the cavity of the bird really well, then push in the onion quarters and bay leaves. Tie the legs together, then weigh the bird and make a note of the weight. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil.

  • STEP 4

    Put the sliced onion in the bottom of a large roasting tin to act as a trivet for the bird and pour in the wine. Sit the turkey on top. Cover the bird and tin completely with foil to make a tent. Cook the turkey for 40 minutes per kilo, basting once or twice.

  • STEP 5

    Take out the turkey and turn up the oven to 220C/fan 200/gas 7. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is golden. Cook any leftover stuffing alongside the turkey now.

  • STEP 6

    To test if the bird is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer – the juices should run clear, not pink; keep cooking if they do not, and check every 10 minutes.

  • STEP 7

    Rest the turkey, covered loosely with foil, for an hour before carving (this gives you time to reheat and get the sides together).

  • STEP 8

    Strain the cooking juices into a jug and keep the onions to use in the gravy. To make the gravy, put the tin with the onions back over a medium heat, then sprinkle over the flour. Stir through and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and cooking juices leaving behind any excess fat. Bring to a boil, scraping bits from the bottom, then simmer for 15 minutes. Sieve into a warmed jug.


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