Roast Turkey


turkeyMid-winter Christmas is becoming an increasingly popular event over the winter months for Kiwis

Regardless of whether you’re planning a mid-winter Christmas meal or you would just like something different for your Sunday roast, turkey is a fantastic meat for anyone health-conscious. It’s low in fat and high in protein, with more protein per gram than other meats.

A roast turkey will produce two types of meats – the white meat is usually healthier as it has lower fat and fewer calories than the dark meat and skin.

If you’re cooking a full roast turkey, you will likely have a lot of leftovers which go great in salads, sandwiches and wraps, pasta; anything you might use leftover chicken in. You can freeze any leftover meat, but it’s best to use it within one month. If a full-sized turkey is a bit much, you can usually buy boneless rolled roasts in smaller sizes.

Just remember when prepping your turkey that if you’re doing it from frozen, it will take a fairly long time to defrost! Crozier’s Turkeys recommends a total cooking time of 15 minutes per 500g plus an extra 15 minutes when cooking at 180°C. A 5 kg turkey takes approximately 2¾ hours. A 5 ½ kg turkey takes approximately 3 hours.

See the Crozier’s website for stuffing recipes.


– 1 free range turkey
– Salt
– Olive oil
– 1 cup Red wine
– 1 cup chicken stock or water
– A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
– Baking paper and foil


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Remove the bag of giblets and the neck from inside the turkey if applicable. Set these aside for use in making the stuffing (if you wish) and stock for the gravy.

Wash the turkey and pat dry with a paper towel. Season inside and out with salt.

If cooking with the stuffing inside the bird, lightly pack the stuffing into the main cavity and and the neck end.

Secure the openings with skewers or sew closed with cotton string (not plastic – it melts). Place the turkey breast-up on a rack in a roasting pan and brush it with oil.

Pour the red wine with the chicken stock into the roasting pan with the rosemary. This will provide a flavourful steam during roasting to keep the turkey moist. Top up with stock or water as needed during cooking. Place a square of baking paper over the breast and then cover the bird with a layer of foil. The foil will trap moisture while the baking paper will prevent the foil from sticking to the bird.

Roast the turkey for about half of the estimated cooking time. Remove the foil and baking paper. Spoon or brush cooking juices over the bird and continue cooking for another 1 ½ to 2 hours, basting regularly until the turkey is golden brown and cooked through. If you pierce the thickest part of the turkey thigh with a skewer, juices will run out. If the juices run clear the turkey is cooked. If there is still some pinkness (blood) present, longer cooking is required.

When the turkey is ready, remove it from the oven. Carefully transfer it to a warm dish and loosely cover it with foil to keep it warm. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes while the gravy is prepared.

Recipe by Lesley Christensen-Yule, author of The New Zealand Cook’s Bible, Penguin 2010, and provided by Crozier’s Turkeys.

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