poached turkey breast

with lemon and thyme gravy

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 x 1.5kg turkey breast fillet, skin on+
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4 eschalots (French shallots), peeled and halved
  • 3 cups (750ml) chicken stock
  • 10 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 50g unsalted butter, extra
  • ¼ cup (35g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper and add to the pan, skin-side down, with the eschalots. Cook the turkey for 5 minutes each side or until golden. Add the stock, thyme, lemon rind and peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and poach for 30 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through. 
  2. Remove the turkey from the poaching liquid, cover with aluminium foil and set aside to keep warm. Strain the poaching liquid into a heatproof jug, discarding the solids.
  3. Melt the extra butter in a large saucepan over high heat until bubbling. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until golden. Gradually pour in the poaching liquid, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring continuously, for a further 2 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. 
  4. Place the turkey on a serving platter. Slice and serve with the gravy. Serves 4–6

It goes without saying that choosing to serve a turkey breast, instead of roasting the entire bird, is an easier option. But it’s also a good solution if you’re short on time, are having a small simple Christmas, or wish to include turkey as part of your festive banquet menu. 

It’s important to use a good heavy-based saucepan for this recipe, and why not use the same saucepan that the turkey was poached in to make the gravy – easy!

Photography: William Meppem

Reader ratings (0)
Katrina Wong

This is my favorite turkey recipe and the gravy is sublime. I am trying the Turkey with pear and potato gratin this year just for a change but I feel a bit “anxious” as this recipe has my taste buds captive LOL. Thank you DH team, my Christmases hit a new level once I found you. Merry Merry!

Kay Welsh

I have made this recipe a few times now, it is so, so easy, and always a huge hit on the Christmas table. The gravy is the best ever and the whole family love it. I have also made this recipe using chicken breasts - one of my guests was a chef and he asked for this recipe. Thanks DH team, a fantastic hit in my home!

donna hay team

Hi Kay, this is one of our go to turkey recipes every year for our christmas issue. You’ll get a moist and tasty turkey, no oven needed! The DH team x

donna hay team

Hi Sue, glad you enjoy the recipe! Yes that is fine, the turkey is just as nice thinly sliced cold. You may also reheat pan juices to serve. The DH team x

Adrianne Forrest

I cooked this last year and it was Beautiful, perfect for a Hot Queensland Christmas.

Kay Strong

Hi, has anyone made this recently or are there any updates (it happens)?  Weird that I always get the urge to try something different at Christmas, not the best strategy!  I always poach whole chicken but the turkey thing is new to me and the meat is quite different.  Have ordered two breasts. Very un confident about tackling this as I only get one shot!

Sue Williams

Hi DH team, I have cooked this Turkey breast recipe the last two Christmas’s and it has been perfect. The best juiciest breast meat ever. This year I need to prepare and cook it the day before if possible, do you think it would be ok to do that?

Jane Scotcher

Hi DH team, I would like to suggest that the cooking time for this should be 30 minutes per 500 grams, I cooked a 2 kg piece today and the result was superb but the cooking time was nearer 2 hours, a novice cook would find the suggested time very confusing, a meat thermometer is always useful too, I will definitely be cooking this again on Christmas day much to my family’s delight, thanks Donna, i love what you do x

Jennifer Le-Galloudec

Absolutely gorgeous, no fail, delicious addition to the table and the old fashion gravy a delight! (I have never found a 1.5 turkey breast so go for 1 kg and if having a lot of people 2 x 1kg, even though you can get 2kg)

donna hay team

Hi Jade, to be safe it is best if it is boneless to ensure an even cooking time. The DH team

Jade Girvan

Could this be done with the turkey buffe on the crown or does the turkey breast need to be boneless?

April Doig

Fantastic wee recipe and will cook this Christmas. I have both a free range organic rolled breast or a whole one to cook. I was going slightly pale thinking about the latter. Watching and reading everything at the moment…..Donna Hay has certainly been the best! Been a follower for a thousand years i feel….she is ‘my go to’ when i need to impress xx





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