Boneless turkey crowns (or turkey butterflies) are whole breasts connected by the skin. The herb rub acts like a dry brine in the way it tenderises the meat, which, along with the low cooking temp, should make this turkey the best you’ve ever tasted – and not a bit dry. You can prepare your turkey up to two days ahead and keep it chilled.
boneless turkey crown 1 (about 2kg), wings removed
prosciutto 25-30 slices
softened butter 75g
TURKEY HERB RUB
sea salt 1 tbsp
black pepper ground to make 1 tsp
sage leaves 12
flat-leaf parsley chopped to make 3 tbsp
bay leaves 3
rosemary 3 sprigs, leaves stripped
dried oregano 2 tsp, or 2 fresh sprigs, leaves stripped
garlic 5 cloves
chicken wings 8
onions 3, quartered
celery 2 sticks, quartered
garlic 8 cloves, unpeeled
bay leaves 2
rosemary 3 sprigs
black peppercorns 20
portobello mushrooms 3 large, quartered olive oil
plain flour 4 tbsp
chicken stock 1 litre
To make the gravy, heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and toss the chicken wings, onions, celery, garlic, herbs, peppercorns, mushrooms and 2 tbsp oil together in a deep roasting tin. (If your turkey crown came with the wings still attached, cut them off and add these to the tin.) Roast for 11/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until everything is really dark and crisp.
Stir in the flour and pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Lift onto the hob over a low-medium heat, and stir in the marsala first, then gradually stir in the chicken stock and bubble very gently over a low heat for 30-45 minutes. Mash everything together with a potato masher, then set a sieve over a bowl or saucepan and pour in the gravy mixture, mashing again to get all the gravy through. Season and add a splash of water if the gravy has become too thick, then freeze or chill.
Open out and lay the turkey crown skin-side down in front of you. Butterfly each breast by cutting into it horizontally from the centre outwards through the thickest part, stopping before you cut all the way through, so each side of the breast opens out like a book.You’re looking to end up with a large, evenly flat rectangle.
Slash the meat at 3cm intervals all over about 1-2cm deep, then repeat the other way to make a criss-cross pattern.
Put the salt, pepper, herbs and garlic in a blender or food processor and whizz to make a rough paste. Rub all over the turkey meat, as much into the slashes as possible.
Unroll a large sheet of foil or baking paper that’s bigger than the turkey, and put it on the work surface with a long side towards you. Arrange the prosciutto slices so that the shorter side of each piece of prosciutto faces the long side of foil, to make a rectangle longer and wider than the butterflied turkey, so it will be completely covered when you roll it up. Make sure the slices have a decent overlap as they will shrink as they cook. This should ensure the prosciutto doesn’t split to reveal turkey meat as it cooks.
Sit the turkey skin-side down onto the prosciutto with a longer side nearest you, and roll the turkey and prosciutto up from the side closest to you using the foil to help you keep everything together. Fold in the prosciutto at the sides.
Wrap the whole lot in clingfilm and chill it for up to 2 days.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Peel off the clingfilm and foil and turn the roll over, so the join of the prosciutto is on the bottom and the turkey looks like a long log. Sit it on a wire rack in a roasting tin, join-side down.
Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper and rub with butter. Then cover with a tent of foil.
Roast the turkey for 2-21/2 hours, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes. To check the turkey is done, poke a meat thermometer into the thickest part – it should read 70C. (If you don’t have a thermometer, skewer the thickest part then hold the skewer against your wrist – it should be piping hot). Rest for 30 minutes.
Re-heat the gravy gently (tip in any turkey juices from the roasting tin but don’t worry if you get none). Slice the turkey with a very sharp knife to serve.
PER SERVING 517 KCALS | FAT 24.1G | SATURATES 9.7G CARBS 12G | FIBRE 2.1G | PROTEIN 55.1G | SALT 3.9G