Roast Christmas Turkey

Did you know that turkeys were introduced into Spain by the Jesuits after Columbus discovered the Americas? They’ve taken pride of place on the English Christmas and American Thanksgiving tables ever since, though not on the Spanish table. Americans have taken to brining their turkeys overnight before roasting, but I like my turkey to taste like turkey, not plumped-up flesh – and the resultant gravy is very salty. It has become traditional to fill the turkey with two stuffings – one for the neck or crop (in this case, pork and veal) and another for the body (fruit and nut) – though this is not obligatory. If you have sorrel growing in your kitchen garden, add a good handful, washed and shredded, as its tart lemony flavour will add another dimension to the flavour of the stuffing. Please note cooking times for turkey: 3- 4 kg will take 3 -3 1/2 hours and serve 8-10 4 -6kg turkey will take 3 1/2 -4 hours and serve 10-14 6-8kg turkey will take 4 -6 hours and serve 14-16 The recipe is from my “Entertaining At Home” cookbook.      

Inroduction

About this Recipe

By: Sheridan Rogers

Did you know that turkeys were introduced into Spain by the Jesuits after Columbus discovered the Americas? They’ve taken pride of place on the English Christmas and American Thanksgiving tables ever since, though not on the Spanish table. Americans have taken to brining their turkeys overnight before roasting, but I like my turkey to taste like turkey, not plumped-up flesh – and the resultant gravy is very salty. It has become traditional to fill the turkey with two stuffings – one for the neck or crop (in this case, pork and veal) and another for the body (fruit and nut) – though this is not obligatory. If you have sorrel growing in your kitchen garden, add a good handful, washed and shredded, as its tart lemony flavour will add another dimension to the flavour of the stuffing. Please note cooking times for turkey: 3- 4 kg will take 3 -3 1/2 hours and serve 8-10 4 -6kg turkey will take 3 1/2 -4 hours and serve 10-14 6-8kg turkey will take 4 -6 hours and serve 14-16 The recipe is from my “Entertaining At Home” cookbook.      

Ingredients

  • free range or organic turkey 1 x 6kg
  • pork & veal forcement stuffing see recipe below
  • fruit & nut stuffing see recipe below
  • unsalted butter 75g
  • ground cinnamon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pork & Veal Forcemeat
  • pork and veal mince 250g
  • fresh breadcrumbs 60g
  • dried chestnuts 60g (soaked overnight) or 125g fresh chestnuts, cooked and skinned
  • lemon 1, finely grated zest
  • French shallots 2, finely chopped
  • parsley 2 tablespoons, freshly chopped
  • fresh sage 1/2 teaspoon, chopped
  • egg 1 small, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fruit & Nut Stuffing
  • prunes 90g, halved and pitted
  • dried apricots 90g, quartered
  • Madeira or dry sherry 60ml – 80 ml
  • fresh walnuts 60g, roughly chopped
  • blanched almonds 60g, roughly chopped
  • butter 30g
  • onion 1, finely chopped
  • celery 1 stick, finely chopped
  • tart green apple 1, peeled, cored and diced
  • pear 1, peeled, cored and diced
  • fresh parsley 4 tablespoons, finely chopped
  • orange zest 1 tablespoon
  • fresh sage 1 teaspoon, chopped
  • fresh thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon
  • ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon
  • ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
  • salt 1 teaspoon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • day-old sourdough bread 100g, cubed
  • Gravy
  • turkey giblets
  • onion 1, small
  • bay leaf 1
  • carrot 1 small
  • celery 1 stalk
  • water 1.5 litres
  • plain flour 2 tablespoons
  • dry white wine (or champagne) 250ml (1 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Wipe turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Spoon pork and veal forcemeat into the neck, being careful not to pack it too tightly as it will swell as it cooks. Pull neck skin over the cavity and secure with skewers. Spoon fruit and nut stuffing into body of the turkey.Tuck wings underneath and plump up breasts to give it a good shape.Pull the turkey skin up under wings to hold it in shape and secure with skewers. Tie legs together with string, making sure they are secured close to the body. Rub softened butter over over breasts, legs, and wings and season lightly with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Place turkey, breast down, in a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Turn down to moderate (180degC) and roast a further 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Check from time to time, basting with pan juices, and covering any parts which might be browning too quickly, with foil. Turn turkey onto its other side about a quarter of the way through cooking, then onto its back so that it cooks evenly. The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear – you can test this by inserting a skewer through the thickest part of the thigh. Take care not to overcook. Remove turkey to a warm serving platter, discard string and skewers, and cover loosely with foil. Let rest 15-20 minutes while you make the gravy. For the Pork & Veal Forcemeat:mix all the ingredients together, seasoning with salt and pepper. For the Fruit & Nut Stuffing: Soak prunes and apricots overnight in  a bowl with Madeira or dry sherry. Toast nuts in a moderate oven for 8-10 minutes.  Melt butter in a heavy frying pan and cook onion and celery until softened. Remove pan from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients, except bread cubes. The stuffing can be prepared up to this point. Just before stuffing, add bread cubes, shredded sorrel (if using) and macerated prunes and apricots and combine well. For the Gravy: While turkey is cooking, make the stock: simmer giblets with onion, bay leaf, carrot, celery and water until volume is reduced by half. Strain and refrigerate. After removing the turkey from the pan, skim excess fat from pan juices. Scatter flour over remaining pan juices and blend well over low heat, stirring with a fork for a minute or two to cook flour. Pour in 750ml (3/4 cup) stock, scraping up all the delicious residue stuck to the pan. Add the wine (or champagne) and any of the juices from the carving platter. Simmer until gravy begins to thicken. Season to taste. Strain through a sieve into a warmed gravy boat and serve piping hot.