Turkey is a hot festive favourite, but in the wrong hands it can turn into a dry, bland affair. To ensure the flesh is juicy, soft and succulent, submerge the uncooked fowl in cold, briny water overnight. Also, nobody wants to eat for two days to finally reach the stuffing. I like to serve it on the side by baking it in a terrine pan.
FESTIVE TURKEY WITH STUFFING ON THE SIDE
PREP: 30 min + overnight if you are brining your turkey | SERVES: 10
for the turkey
3,8 kg turkey
100 g (110 ml) soft unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, halved
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves
for the pork stuffing
8 fresh sprigs of thyme
1 kg good quality pork sausages
70 g raw shelled pistachio nuts
250 g chicken livers, stringy bits
removed, finely chopped
250 g streaky bacon, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50 ml brandy
2 ml salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
for the garnish
3 oranges, halved
sprigs of fresh rosemary
for the turkey
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Place a roasting rack in a big oven roasting tray. Rub the turkey with the butter and season the bird with salt and pepper. Remember to season the inside of the turkey cavity as well. Stuff the cavity with the orange, thyme and garlic. Tie the legs together with string and place the turkey on the roasting rack. Pour a cup of boiling water into the bottom of the roasting tray and cover tightly with foil. 3. Place in the oven and roast for 2-2ó hours. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes and baste with the juices in the tray. To ensure your turkey is cooked, cut between the leg and the thigh. When the juices run clear, your turkey is cooked. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
for the stuffing on the side
You can bake your stuffing at the same time as the turkey, or beforehand, reheating it just before serving. Preheat the oven to
180 °C. 2. Grease a 28 cm terrine dish or bread tin with oil. Arrange the fresh thyme at the bottom of the dish. Squeeze the sausage meat from the casings. Mix all the stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl. 3. Place the stuffing in a terrine dish and cover with foil. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes. 4. Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes before you carefully turn it out of the dish.
Place the turkey on a big serving platter. Slice some of the stuffing and arrange it next to the turkey. Garnish with the rosemary-infused fried orange halves, and serve with cranberry sauce or jelly.
for brining your turkey
To ensure the meat is moist, brine your turkey overnight. Place your turkey in a large container and cover with cold water. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, halved oranges, peppercorns and a bouquet garni. Remove from the liquid 1-2 hours before placing the turkey in the oven, and pat dry with a kitchen towel.