Classic roast turkey with pancetta
- December 2007
- Serves 8
- 1 hour to make, 3 hours in the oven for the turkey, plus 30 min resting and 25 minutes in the oven for the stuffing
Searching for the best turkey recipe? This is it. A golden roast turkey is stuffed with date, pancetta and sausagemeat stuffing and served on a platter of chipolata pigs in blankets. All you need now are roast potatoes, veg and gravy for a complete Christmas dinner!
Want to serve a turkey crown? We’ve made this recipe into a crown and stuffed legs recipe, take a look at it here.
- 49.2g (19g saturated)
- 22.3g (11.2g sugars)
- 8 good-quality chipolata sausages
- 16 slices smoked pancetta
- 12 fresh bay leaves
- 4.5kg good-quality oven-ready turkey, with giblets
- 2 oranges
- Big bunch of fresh sage
- Small bunch of fresh parsley stalks (from the stuffing, below)
- 50g butter, at room temperature
For the stuffing
- 3 x 70g packs cubed pancetta or 210g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- Liver from the turkey giblets, chopped (optional)
- 12 good-quality pork sausages, skins removed
- 200g ready-to-eat dates, chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (save the stalks for the turkey)
- 35g fresh white breadcrumbs
- ¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Twist and cut each chipolata in the middle to give 2 smaller chipolatas. Wrap each chipolata in a slice of pancetta. Thread 2 onto 8 skewers along with a bay leaf. Chill. Remove the giblets from the turkey – finely chop the liver and set it aside for the stuffing, if using, and cover and chill the rest of the giblets for the gravy.
- For the stuffing. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the pancetta and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Add the onions and fry for 6-8 minutes, until soft and lightly golden. Add the turkey liver, if using, to the pan and cook for another minute. Tip into a bowl and leave to go completely cold. Break in the sausagemeat, then add the dates, herbs breadcrumbs and nutmeg. Season and mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/ fan170°C/gas 5. Remove any bits of feathers from the turkey with tweezers. Spoon some stuffing into the neck cavity, rounding it to give a nice shape, then pull the skin flap back over the stuffing to enclose it. Secure with a fine skewer. Put the rest of the stuffing into a greased baking dish, cover and set aside.
- Spike the oranges all over with a skewer. Season the turkey’s body cavity and push in the oranges, bunch of sage, remaining bay leaves and parsley stalks. Truss the turkey with string. (see how to truss a turkey here)
- Weigh the bird and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per kg plus 90 minutes, so a 4.5kg turkey will need 3 hours in the oven. Pour 300ml water into a large roasting tin and place a rack in or over the tin. Rest the turkey on the rack, spread the butter under the skin and over the legs and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover the tin with foil. Roast for the calculated cooking time, uncovering the turkey for the last 30 minutes to brown the skin. Push a skewer into the thickest part of the leg. If the juices run clear, it’s cooked. If there are any traces of pink, cook for 15 minutes or until the juices are clear.
- Remove the turkey from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Lift the turkey onto a carving board. Cover with the foil for 30 minutes to rest. Strain the cooking juices into a jug and leave to settle. Skim off the excess fat. Put the chipolatas on a tray and roast for 30 minutes. Bake the dish of leftover stuffing, uncovered, for 25 minutes (while crisping up the potatoes and parsnips until golden).
- Meanwhile, use the cooking juices and giblets to make the gravy. Carve the turkey and serve with the vegetables, gravy, chipolatas and sauces.
See how to make giblet stock here:
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