Roast turkey with pistachio rosemary stuffing & fig salad

Past and present ideas combine in this perfect Christmas turkey recipe. Recipe and photography by Bauer Syndication.

  • 4 hrs cooking
  • 1 hr marinating
  • Serves 12
  • Print


Pistachio & rosemary stuffing
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 50 millilitre extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 200 gram bread (such as ciabatta), torn
  • 80 gram pistachio kernels
  • 1/4 cup each finely chopped rosemary and flat-leaf parsley
  • finely grated rind ½ lemon and ½ orange
Orange & rosemary butter
  • 150 gram butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • finely grated rind ½ orange (reserve orange for pan juices)
Roast turkey
  • 1 free-range turkey (about 5kg)
  • wild rocket leaves, to garnish
Fig & mint salad
  • 8 figs, peeled (optional), halved
  • juice each 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 50 millilitre extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 golden shallots, shaved thinly on a mandoline


Roast turkey with pistachio rosemary stuffing & fig salad
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C. For pistachio and rosemary stuffing, sauté onion in oil in a saucepan over medium heat until translucent (8-12 minutes), then add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant (1 minute). Set aside in a bowl to cool briefly.
  • 2
    Process bread to coarse crumbs in a food processor, then add to onion mixture along with pistachios, herbs and rind, stir to combine, season to taste and set aside to cool completely.
  • 3
    For orange and rosemary butter, gently heat ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Place a large double-folded piece of muslin in the butter to soak it up and set aside.
  • 4
    Rinse turkey inside and out, pat dry with paper towels and season. Fill the cavity and neck pocket with pistachio and rosemary stuffing, folding the skin of the neck pocket underneath to seal. Tuck wings underneath, tie legs together with kitchen string, then transfer to a large roasting pan.
  • 5
    Place butter-soaked muslin over the top and squeeze the juice of reserved orange over. Add 80ml water to pan and roast turkey, basting muslin regularly, until a meat thermometer inserted into the leg reads 75-80°C (3-3½ hours; cover turkey with foil if it becomes too brown). Set aside covered with foil to rest (30 minutes to 1 hour).
  • 6
    For fig and mint salad, arrange fig halves in a serving bowl. Whisk together juices and oil in a bowl, add mint and shallots, season to taste, then spoon over figs and serve with turkey on a bed of rocket.


Prepare the turkey ahead so it’s ready for the oven on Christmas Day. Make sure the stuffing is completely cooled before using it and don’t leave the turkey out of the fridge for too long. The buttered muslin keeps the turkey juicy and helps it to brown evenly – baste it regularly to ensure it doesn’t dry out and stick to the turkey; cover it with foil if it starts to brown too much. After cooking, the turkey holds its heat for a good hour, which means it can be transported and still served warm, though it’s also delicious at room temperature.

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