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Dad’s Excellent Turkey - Recipe by Becky Excell
Dad’s Excellent Turkey - Recipe by Becky Excell

Dad’s Excellent Turkey - Recipe by Becky Excell


1 turkey, 5.5-6.5 kg
300 g gluten-free pork stuffing
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large dried bay leaves
2 clementines, halved
1 lemon

Lemon butter:

80 g butter, softened
1 tsp minced garlic paste or 2 Tbs garlic-infused oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Generous pinch of salt and ground black pepper


Before Christmas:

If your turkey has been frozen, place it in the fridge 4 days before Christmas on the bottom shelf in a suitably sized container. For a larger turkey, allow 10–12 hours of defrosting in the fridge per kilogram, as a general rule.

Take the turkey out of the fridge on Christmas Eve to ensure it’s at room temperature the following day. Cooking a fridge-cold turkey means the outside will be done and start getting dry before the inside is safe to eat, so make sure that doesn’t happen!

On Christmas Day:

Remove the stuffing from the fridge about an hour before using to allow it to come up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 200 C fan-forced.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the lemon butter.

Remove the bag of giblets from inside the turkey. Pull the skin at the neck end of the turkey back to reveal the cavity and loosely spoon in the stuffing – don’t pack too much in. Pull the neck skin back over and secure with a small cocktail stick. Turn the turkey round so that the body cavity is facing you, then place the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves, the clementine halves and the whole lemon inside.

Line the base and sides of a large roasting tin (large enough to fit the turkey!) with foil and place the turkey in it breast-side up. Rub all over with the lemon butter. Loosely cover the entire turkey with foil, ensuring it’s tented enough to cover the turkey without the foil actually touching it.

Roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150 C fan-forced and roast for a further 3–3 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the turkey. Remove the foil covering the turkey and increase the heat to 180 C fan-forced and cook for a further 30–40 minutes until nicely golden, basting every 10–15 minutes.

Use a digital cooking thermometer to probe the breast and thigh of the turkey (as well as the stuffing in the neck cavity) to ensure it’s cooked through; 70 C is perfect. Alternatively, pierce the thigh with a skewer to check that the juices run clear.

Transfer the turkey to a large wooden board or serving plate, cover with lots of foil and allow to rest for 1–2 hours. This resting time can make the difference between all the juices staying in your turkey or watching them all leak out if carved too soon.

Once rested, carve with a freshly sharpened carving knife.

Credits: This is an edited extract from Gluten Free Christmas! by Becky Excell published by Quadrille Books. RRP $45.

Photo Credits: Hannah Rose Hughes