Donna Hay’s prosecco-brined turkey breast with Brussels sprouts and speck

Prosecco-brined turkey? A stroke of festive genius! Try it in this delicious recipe from Donna Hay.

donna hay prosecco brined turkey
Chris Court, William Meppem, Con Polous, Ansom Smart. Styling: Steve Pearce


75g rock salt
45g light brown sugar
2 sprigs tarragon
2 bunches thyme (about 12 sprigs)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1.25 litres water
750ml prosecco
2 x 1.5kg turkey breast fillets, skin on
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
350g speck or bacon, chopped
500g Brussels sprouts, halved
1 bunch thyme (about 6 sprigs), extra


100g unsalted butter, softened
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

Step 1 Place the salt, sugar, tarragon, thyme, lemon and 500ml of the water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring, and cook for 4 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Pour the brining liquid into a large (5-litre-capacity) non-reactive container (see note). Add the prosecco and another 500ml of the water. Using your hands, carefully loosen the skin from the flesh of the turkey breasts. Lower the turkey, skin-side down, into the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (but no longer). 

Step 2 To make the lemon garlic butter, place the butter, garlic and lemon rind in a small bowl and mix to combine.

Step 3 Remove the turkey from the container, discarding the brine, and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Using your hands, spread the lemon garlic butter under the skin. 

Step 4 Place the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper. Add 1 turkey breast to the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 4 minutes each side or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining turkey. Return both turkey breasts to the pan, skin-side up. Add the remaining 250ml water, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan, loosely cover with tinfoil and reserve the cooking liquid. 

Step 5 Wipe out the pan and return to medium heat. Add the speck and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until crispy. Remove and set aside. Increase the heat to high, add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until lightly charred. Add the extra thyme and reserved liquid and cook for 2 minutes. 

Step 6 Serve the turkey with the sprouts and crispy speck. 

NOTE Non-reactive materials include glass, plastic and stainless steel. 

christmas biscuit recipesBuy Donna’s Christmas book with 20% off

Christmas Feasts and Treats by Donna Hay is published by Fourth Estate, price £20. To order a copy for £16 until 8 December, call 01603 648155 or go to; p&p is free on all orders. 

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