Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Here is a recipe for seasoning and marinading whole turkey ready for roasting. It makes the turkey delicious and succulent. It is what my mother used to do, and the aromas are still very powerful for me at Christmas. This is a most important routine for me, and makes my kitchen smell Christmassy.

Prepare the evening before. 

This amount of ingredients will do for anything up to a 12 lb turkey, but you can use a bit more. For me, you can't have too much thyme. 

For a 12 -15 lb turkey, add another half the amount of ingredients.  E.G. one and a half handful of fresh thyme, etc.

- Large handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- Large handful of fresh parsley
- 2x5" sprigs rosemary (optional)
- 2 large fresh tomatoes
- 1 table spoon fine sea salt (or 2 table spoons flake salt)
- half teaspoon ground black pepper
-  large onion chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

- Preferably, use a mortar and pestle. (A liquidizer will mince it all up too much)
- Chopper or large knife.
- Chopping board
- Large roasting dish. Preferably stainless steel.
- Turkey tin foil (strong and wide)


Wash herbs and tomatoes.

- Pull off all small leaves from sprigs of thyme by pulling downwards against the stem, and put leaves on the chopping board. Throw away stalks.
- Trim stalks from parsley, and add leaves to heap of herbs
- Pull leaves off rosemary stalks, and add to herbs.
- Use chopper or large knife, and chop all herbs finely.
- Cut up tomatoes into small pieces
- Place all ingredients above into a mortar and pestle, or a strong Pyrex type bowl.
- Add chopped onions.
-  Using pestle, pound and grind ingredients by hand until mushy and runny, but not totally ground. It should remain lumpy and crushed, but not liquidized.
- Add salt and pepper, and continue pounding for a minute.

- You should be able to smell the delicious aroma of all the herbs, tomatoes and onions.

- Wash turkey and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Loosen the skin around the top of the breast area making a few long spaces between skin and flesh.
- Using hands, take the seasoning mixture and rub all over turkey, inside and outside. Pushing in seasoning mixture inside pockets you've made in breast area. Season inside turkey body also.

- Cut a very large piece of tin foil and place inside tray. Rub with oil, apart from edges.
-  Place turkey on foil.
- Wrap foil very loosely around turkey, Seal by folding an inch of foil around turkey. Leaving enough space inside of top (about 2 inches), so that the hot air can circulate while cooking.
- Put it in a cold room or fridge overnight until ready to cook the following morning. (Make sure it is well away from domestic animals or rats and mice. You could put it in a large plastic storage box)

- Follow whatever cooking instructions you have, allowing enough time for turkey to stand for about half hour before lunch. 

While cooking, open and baste thoroughly at least twice during cooking time.

Would you like my cooking instructions, or How to make gravy from the delicious herby juices? Leave me a comment. 

Hope this goes well for you.

{I have now posted the Turkey Cooking Instructions. Just click on it on the right.}


  1. Mouth is watering as I read...yes please. I am going to try this as soon as I am in charge of a kitchen again. Loved the idea for your book as well. Thanks for sharing. Jane x

  2. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for the comment. Ok, I will add the cooking instructions as well as the gravy recipe soon. Using the herby juices makes it very tasty.

  3. seem enjoyable will try it