No-Hassle Christmas Turkey

A turkey breast joint is the answer to those who are few in numbers but still like the idea of eating roast turkey or Christmas Day Supermarkets sell them all year round or ask your butcher to bone and tie a breast joint weighing about 1 kg / lb and ask for the breast bone, which will contribute to the flavour of the roasting pan juices.

You can still have all the traditional accompaniments – bread sauce, bacon rolls and chipolata sausages are always great with turkey and are even more welcome should an unexpected guest turn up at the last moment.

Should you want to serve sprouts, ring the changes by parboiling them for 2 minutes then stir-frying them in olive oil with grated ginger, garlic and cooked peeled chestnuts (you can buy these vacuum-packed – the Merchant Gourmet label from France are very good).

Should time considerations put you off roast potatoes, why not serve chips, and if feeling very lazy, frozen chips are fine. With such a full main course, starter and dessert can be very simple. Perhaps slices of smoked cod’s roe with lemon quarters and sourdough toast to begin, and cheeses and fruit at the end.

Read more


  • 1 kg/ lb turkey breast joint
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 60 g/ 2 oz butter
  • 4 slices of unsmoked streaky bacon
  • a big sprig of rosemary
  • 300 ml/ ½ pt dry white wine


Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/ gas 5. Brush the joint with olive oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Spread the butter on top, then lay the bacon over it to cover. Sit the joint on top of the breast bone and a good big sprig of rosemary, then pour over the white wine.

Roast for about 40 minutes, or until firm when pressed. Turn and baste from time to time. If the pan dries out add more wine.

Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes, covered, then carve across in thick slices. Discard the bone and rosemary and serve the whisked pan juices as a gravy.