In the kitchen with Luciana: Succulent Turkey Recipe


With the arrival of Christmas and all the end-of-year parties, the good old turkey recipe is back on the table after a long absence. In Brazil, it is one of the stars of Christmas dinner, served alongside a number of typical accompaniments: stuffing, fruit in syrup, eggs, salads and rice with raisins.

Various people have asked me how to cook the turkey without it drying out. The answer is simple: the turkey should be basted every 20 minutes with the meat’s juices that gather in the baking tray. I also recommend you use a cooking thermometer. You can use all the exotic seasoning you like and let the turkey marinade for several days, but if you overcook the turkey your work will have been in vain.

I love cooking turkey with cinnamon, cloves, pepper, fennel and anise – those five oriental flavours that perfume houses in London during the festive period. Our recipe here features all five, plus 23 other ingredients and seasonings. This recipe guarantees a turkey with an intense flavour, almost Moroccan in fragrance and style.

Recipe for 12 people

Turkey between 6-6.5kg


500g of sausage meat

200g of sliced white bread soaked in milk

150g of chestnuts

4 sage leaves

150g of diced pineapple

200g of olives

1 onion

150g of butter


12 cloves of garlic

1 table spoon of cumin

1 table spoon of black pepper

1 table spoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of fennel seeds

1 tablespoon of masala

5 anises

20 cloves

3 limes (juice of)

Salt to taste


To marinate

3 litres of chicken stock

1 litre of white wine

5 bay leaves

2 red onions

2 celery stalks

1/2 a coriander stalk


Season the turkey with mashed garlic, lime juice, salt, cumin, black pepper, paprika, cinnamon, fennel, masala, anise and the cloves. Mix well and smother the turkey. Place in a plastic bag and leave for 6 hours.

Prepare a “bath” for it to soke in for 24 hours, with the chicken stock, wine, bay leaves, onion and the coriander stalk.

After the initial 6 hours place the turkey in the “bath”, cover with cling film and place in the fridge.

To make the stuffing, remove the skin from the sausages. Add a little oil and butter to a frying pan. Add a finely chopped onion. Add the sausage meat. Sauté very quickly (do not cook through as the mix will continue to cook inside the turkey). Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Cut the olives, pineapple, nuts and sage. Mix with the sausage. Squeeze the milk from the bread strips and add. Discard the milk. Mix well.

Remove the turkey from the bowl and place the filling inside. Pack tightly so as not to let air in.

Heat the oven to 220C. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and pour in a little of the marinated liquid until you reach the mid-way up the turkey’s thigh. Place in the hot oven and bake for 40 minutes. Every 20 minutes baste the turkey with the juices. Reduce the oven to 180C and cover the turkey with foil. Bake for 3 to 3.5 hours. With 20 minutes to go, remove the foil. This part is very important! Every oven is different, so place the thermometer in the thigh and push in as far as it will go. Wait 3 minutes and when the temperature hits 65C remove the turkey from the oven and wrap in foil. The ideal temperature to eat the turkey is 74C and the best place to read the thermometer is the thigh. It will reach 74C by just resting outside the oven for 15 minutes (covered with foil). This step is essential in ensuring that the turkey remains juicy. Now it is ready to be savoured!

A very Merry Christmas to you all, filled with happiness, peace and love.


About Author

Luciana Berry’s mission as a chef in the UK is to showcase the exotic flavours and ingredients that are integral to Brazilian cuisine. Luciana is an Ambassador of Brazilian cuisine and culture in the UK mixing modern and classic cooking techniques to deliver impressive yet subtle tastes from a country which until now few other chefs have successfully exploited.