Neven Maguire: Foolproof Roast Turkey with Streaky Bacon


‘This is the easiest way to roast a turkey’ says Neven Maguire in his new book Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas ‘and fortunately, for many people it’s also the best. Forget about having the time to brine it or trying to turn it over while it cooks – this method is absolutely foolproof.’

Serves 10 – 12


1 x 4.5–5.4kg (10–12lb) oven-ready turkey (preferably free-range), at
room temperature
1 quantity stuffing (optional) – (you’ll find Neven’s recipe for his famous Christmas stuffing here)
100g (4oz) butter, softened
15–18 rindless streaky bacon rashers
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small bunch of fresh herbs (to include parsley, sage and bay leaves), to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

2. Turn the turkey breast side up and pack the neck cavity loosely with stuffing (if using), then tie the top of the drumsticks together with string. Smear with most of the butter and season generously, then place the bacon over the breasts to cover them completely. Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra.

3. Lay a large sheet of foil lengthways over a large roasting tin, leaving enough at each end to wrap over the turkey, then lightly butter the foil. Repeat with another sheet of foil, but this time laying it across the tin. Place the stuffed turkey in the centre of the foil, breast side up, then wrap loosely to enclose but still allowing air to circulate around the turkey.

4. Put in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting the turkey every 40 minutes. For the final hour, fold back and remove the foil, keeping the ends of the drumsticks still covered in foil to prevent them from burning. Baste well and return to the oven. The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour. To make sure it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes, until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine).

5. To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the neck cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed plates with all the trimmings.


Neven Maguire’s new book Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas is published by Gill Books – buy it at the Gill Books online bookshop or at any good bookstore throughout Ireland.

CURATE: You can also buy Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas online at

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