Christmas turkey with juniper and rye stuffing
- December 2013
- Serves 8-10
- 2½-3 hours to cook
The stuffing in this Christmas turkey recipe has a Scandinavian twist: juniper, rye bread and aquavit add chic flavours to the turkey meat.
Or, for a fruity, herby turkey lunch, try this bacon-wrapped, stuffing-filled turkey cushion for four.
- 18.9g (8.3g saturated)
- 4.2g (0.8g sugars)
For 10 servings
For the stuffing
- 40g unsalted butter
- Drizzle of olive oil, plus extra for tossing
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 juniper berries, lightly crushed
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- Large splash of aquavit or vodka
- 75g dark rye bread (pumpernickel), crumbled into very small pieces
- 200g British free-range pork sausagemeat
- 150g British rose veal mince
- Small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
- Handful of fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
For the turkey
- 25g unsalted butter, softened
- 6kg free-range, slow-grown turkey
- 2 lemons, halved
- Fresh bay leaves for stuffing, plus extra to serve
For the gravy
- Roasting tin fat from the turkey
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 150ml white wine
- 350ml good quality fresh turkey or chicken stock
- To make the stuffing, melt half the 40g butter with a little olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and gently cook the onion with the juniper berries for 5 minutes, without letting the onion colour. Add the garlic and aquavit or vodka and cook for 2 minutes more, then tip into a large bowl to cool. Melt the rest of the butter and fry the rye bread pieces for 2 minutes, then add them to the bowl. Once cool, add the rest of the ingredients, season and mix well with your hands. Fry a small amount of the stuffing until cooked, taste to test the seasoning, then adjust as needed.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Rub the 25g softened butter all over the outside of the bird. Season inside the main cavity, then squeeze over the lemon juice and stuff the cavity with the lemon halves and a few bay leaves. Season the skin, then roast for 2-2½ hours. The turkey is cooked when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer and the juices run clear, or when a digital thermometer reads 65-70°C.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes. Lift the bird out, tipping it carefully so the juices run out of the cavity into the tin, then transfer to a large carving board (ensuring it has a rim to catch the juices). Leave the turkey to rest until you’re ready to carve (you can leave it for up to 2 hours). Leave the roasting tin as it is, with all the juices and caramelised bits, ready to make the gravy.
- While the turkey is cooking, roll the stuffing into ping pong ball-size spheres. Keep in the fridge until 45 minutes before you’re ready to serve lunch, then bring out and leave for 15-20 minutes to come to room temperature. Toss them in oil in a roasting tray, then roast for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown and heated through. Garnish the turkey with more bay leaves, then serve with the stuffing balls and the gravy.
- For the gravy. Drain all the juices and fat from the turkey roasting tin into a jug and allow to settle. Spoon 2 tbsp of the fat back into the tin, then skim off and discard the rest.
- Put the tin over a medium-high heat. Add the flour and stir, scraping up all the sticky bits from the bottom of the tin, for a couple of minutes to heat through. Add the wine and bubble, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Season.
- Pour in the turkey roasting juices and simmer until the gravy coats the back of a spoon thinly.
Make the stuffing the day before and keep in the fridge overnight. Cook as in the recipe. Or freeze the stuffing, uncooked, rolled into balls. Defrost before cooking as in step 4.
Make the gravy up to a month in advance.
Use 2 tbsp goose fat or olive oil instead of turkey fat and cook in a large saucepan to the end of step 2. Cool, pour into an airtight container then freeze. On the day, defrost completely. Skim the fat off the turkey roasting juices, then add the juices to the gravy and heat through.
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