This roast turkey recipe is the perfect centrepiece to a casual Christmas lunch

‘Who better to turn to for guidance on the subject of Christmas feasting than Ms Martha Stewart?’ was my thinking as I fumbled around the internet, searching for inspiration on what to make for our final, end-of-year staff feast. We’ve been doing these lunches for the best part of a year now — a celebration of our epic, new Fisher & Paykel-kitted kitchen — and I wanted to go out with Jamie Oliver-esque bang; lips smacking and appetites mounting. My search for something slightly festive, yet suitably summery, ended with the following Tuscan-roast turkey breast recipe served on a salad of farro, orange and pinenut. Enshrining the seasonal meat with an unlikely burst of fruit (move over cranberries) it’s the perfect centrepiece to a casual Christmas lunch.

Preparation time: 45 mins
Serves: 10 people

For the turkey:
Extra virgin olive oil 
1 turkey breast (about 2kg), deboned, trimmed, and butterflied (available from Westmere Butchery)
250g pancetta or bacon, thinly sliced
1/4 flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped, plus 5 sprigs for roasting
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage, plus 5 sprigs for roasting
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
1 dried chile, crumbled
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup black seedless grapes (optional)
2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought turkey or chicken stock

For the farro salad:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
1 dried chile, crumbled
2 cups farro
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought turkey or chicken stock
2 navel oranges, peel and pith removed, flesh cut into segments
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

For the turkey:
Stir 3 tablespoons oil, the parsley, rosemary, chopped sage, zest, fennel seeds, chile and garlic in a bowl. Rub all over turkey, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a shallow, nonreactive baking pan; cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 190°C. Let turkey stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Roll up turkey, cover evenly with pancetta and tie with kitchen twine (you may need an extra pair of hands for this); return to pan and add extra herb sprigs. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil; season with pepper.

Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey registers 70°C (about 1 1/2 hours). Add grapes to pan if desired during last 20 minutes. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest 20 minutes.

Transfer pan juices to a bowl, and set aside. Heat pan on top of stove over medium heat. Add wine, and cook, stirring, until reduced by half. Stir in stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in finely chopped rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the farro salad:

Melt butter with the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and celery, and cook, stirring often, until soft (about 3 minutes). Add 2 tablespoons of parsley, the sage, fennel seeds, and chile, and cook for a minute more. Stir in farro, stock, and wine, and bring to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.

Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until farro is tender and the liquid has been absorbed (about 30 minutes).

Stir in orange segments, pine nuts, and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange salad on a serving platter before slicing the turkey and placing on top. Serve with herbed pan sauce and dressing and garnish with a few fresh sage leaves.

This recipe has been adapted from



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