Christmas turkey with stuffing & gravy

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Ingredients

Serves 6

 

For the turkey:

  • 3.5kg bird
  • 100ml melted butter
  • Maldon sea salt
  • A good grind of black pepper

 

For the stuffing:

  • 250g sausages or sausage meat
  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 50g oats
  • A large handful of base herbs (sage, rosemary, or thyme), finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice

 

For the gravy:

  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • Water to cover
  • 8 peppercorns
  • a pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • Tukey giblets found in the bird. Use the heart, gizzards and neck. Discard the liver.

 

You will need a medium-large roasting tray and a large saucepan or casserole dish with a lid.

Timings

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Total time: 3 hours 20 minutes plus resting time

Christmas turkey with stuffing & gravy

Cooking a turkey really isn’t that different to cooking a chicken, so please don’t worry about the concept of ‘roasting the turkey’. Essentially, you are making some stuffing which will steam and help cook the bird from the inside. The outside is kept moist by using melted butter, and you can pop tin foil on it after an hour so that it again steams and keeps the flesh nice and tender. As for the gravy, you can be making this while the bird is cooking. Or, if you have time, it’s the perfect thing to make in advance. Simply take out the giblets from inside the bird (they should be together in a packet) and make a stock. You’ll then have this ready to add to the juices in the pan once the bird is cooked. Stir in a cornflour paste, and there we have it. Deliciously moist turkey with crispy skin, incredible stuffing and rich dark turkey gravy.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180/350/gas 4.

Place the celery and shallots in a pan with a teaspoon of butter over a low heat. Sautee slowly until the vegetables are soft and translucent, and they are beginning to take on a little colour.

Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Next start making the giblet stock if you haven’t made it in advance. The giblets are usually found in the middle of the bird. Take them out of the packaging.

Place the chopped vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves and turkey neck in a casserole dish with a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. heat over a high heat until the neck and vegetable start to turn brown.

Add the wine and let it boil over a high heat until it has almost evaporated.

Add the heart and gizzards, and cover with 10cm of water.

Bring to a simmer, pop on the lid and continue to gently simmer for 3 hours or until the turkey is cooking.

While the stock is cooking, finish off preparing the stuffing. Mix in the sausage meat, oats, herbs and mixed spice. Season well with Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Use 3/4 of the stuffing to stuff in to the main cavity where the legs are. You will need to leave a hand space on top so that the air can circulate and cook the bird on the inside.

Use the final 1/4 of the stuffing to stuff the neck. Lift up the skin to find the smaller cavity to fill, (the one that looks like a luggage compartment) and again ill this leaving enough space for air to circulate.

Tuck the skin back under the bird. Using a party brush or your hands, smear a thick layer of melted butter all over the bird.

Season the skin well with freshly ground black pepper and Maldon sea salt.

Cook as per NHS guidelines below:

  • 45 minutes per kilo plus 20-30 minutes extra for a bird that is up to 4.5kg (for example, 2 hours and 45 minutes for a 3.5kg bird)
  • 40 minutes per kilo for a bird that is between 4.5kg – 6.5kg
  • 35 minutes per kilo for a bird that is over 6.5kg

Leave the bird uncovered for the first hour. Then baste well using a spoon (this means getting the juices and pouring them back over the bird to keep it moist.

After 1 hour, cover well with tin foil (allowing air to circulate) and continue to cook. You can tell if the bird is cooked by inserting a sharp knife into the thigh and checking that the juices run clear.

You can also make an incision between the hip and the leg to check that there is no pink flesh.

Once you are happy that it is cooked, leave to rest covered in tin foil on the side whilst you finish the gravy.

Take the turkey out of the pan. Pour on some lovely turkey stock and sracpe the bottom of the pan well with a wooden spoon. Pour into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

To thicken the gravy, mix 1 teaspoon of cornflour with 1 teaspoon of cold water and create a watery paste. Add the paste to boiling gravy stock and bring back to the boil to thicken for 2 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Dizzle_Favicon

My 2 top tips for managing Christmas… 1. Do as much as you can in advance. 2. Think about realistic amounts of food that people can eat. Don’t buy a turkey that is too big for your oven. Don’t have endless vegetables, potatoes and parsnips if you don’t think they are all necessary. Don’t make bread sauce if half the party is gluten-free. Don’t make a Christmas pudding or Christmas cake if no one likes them. Your mental health and stress levels are more important than keeping up with traditions. Create new traditions that serve you well instead of old traditions that drain you.”

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