Tuesday 22 December 2009

Traditional Roast Turkey with Chestnut and Wild Mushroom and Oat Stuffing

The holiday season is finally upon us and with three days to go it is time to start finalising shopping lists and beginning to prep for the feast.

I'm often asked what meat we have as a family on Christmas Day. The turkey has become the traditional bird to be eaten at Yuletide in the UK. Many years ago it was the goose with all of its rich dark meat and perfect roast potato making fat. The turkey was introduced to our shores from the Americas and due to its large yield in meat and value for money it fast took over the goose as the bird of choice.

It is worth having a change now and again and most game, such as pheasant and grouse, is more than suitable for the Christmas table. Duck and a top quality chicken or even a decent piece of beef are great replacements but this year I’m going for the good old turkey. With a superb supplier of the famous Kelly Bronze just down the road from where I live it would be foolish to not go for this great bird.

The turkey does have a reputation for being dry. There are so many different tips and techniques for supposedly keeping the bird moist but my foolproof technique is simple and non-fussy. The majority of the fat is on its back so roasting the bird at the same temperature on breast down should guarantee succulent meat. A traditional stuffing containing a little sausage meat, wild mushrooms and the turkey liver will add moistness to the bird.

Merry Christmas everybody and best of for 2010. x

Traditional Roast Turkey with Chestnut and Wild Mushroom and Oat Stuffing

Serves 8

1 quality oven ready turkey weighing approximately 6kg
1 onion, peeled
Salt and pepper

For the stuffing
1 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
150g wild mushrooms, finely chopped
A handful of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stalks and finely chopped
The liver of the turkey, finely chopped
300g prepared chestnuts, finely chopped
150g pork sausage meat
1 egg
100g oats
Salt and pepper

1 – Ensure your turkey has sat at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/GM4.
2 – To make the stuffing, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the shallot, mushrooms and thyme and sweat for 5-10 minutes until the water has evaporated from the mushrooms.
3 – Tip into a mixing bowl then combine with the remaining ingredients, seasoning with a little grating of nutmeg and salt and pepper. If the mixture looks too wet, stir in a little more oats a handful at a time until it stiffens.
4 – Stuff the neck of the turkey with the stuffing by loosening the skin around the neck and pushing the stuffing up towards the breast. Secure the skin with a couple of cocktail sticks or a skewer.
5 – Season the turkey all over with salt and pepper and place the onion into the cavity. Place breast side down in a roasting tin.
6 – Cook the turkey for the allotted cooking time (2 hours for a 4kg bird, adding 15 minutes per kg) turning the turkey breast side up for the final 30 minutes to crisp up the skin. To be on the safe side, buy a good meat thermometer and check the thighs of the bird for the correct temperature as per the thermometer.
7 – Remove from the oven and rest for 30-45 minutes. To make a simple gravy, skim off the excess fat from the roasting juices and add a glass of white wine. Bring to the boil and taste for seasoning.


Sylvie said...

Like you we're having turkey this year, after a Nigella pork roast last year that got mixed reviews from the different family members. Merry Christmas!

Celia Hart said...

Love the sound of that stuffing

We're having a goose this year - collecting it from a farm in a nearby village tomorrow.

Happy Christmas

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Love the stuffing, love the technique to keep our birds moist...love it all David. Have a wonderful holiday season with your wide-eyed little girl...just too much fun!!

Gavan, The Healthy Irishman said...

Happy Christmas to you too Dave and all the family.
Best for next year.

Chef Jeena said...

Merry Christmas David and have a fantastic New Year!

Your turkey looks so tasty, breast side down is always best I think. We might have duck this year. :-)

Thistlemoon said...

I love turkey! Such good stuff. This year we are doing lamb. With Thanksgiving in the US just a few weeks ago, I need something other than Turkey! :)

Happy Holidays David!

Cynthia said...

Keep the turkey, just fill my plate with the stuffing!

Merry Christmas to you and the family.

Unknown said...

You've put me right in the Christmas mood David, Andrea just gone to collect our turkey up from Blagdon You all have a great Christmas, hope to see you soon.

Trig said...

It's a break from the turf for us this Christmas. The turkeys can rest easy - we're having sea bass. But I'll be working on a serious stuffing for it, all the same. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. Best regards.

Ed Bruske said...

Happy holidays, David

cookeaze said...

Look really yummy, I love this recipe and happy x-mas.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Best wishes for you as well David! :)
Apologizes that I'm sooo late with the wishes. Hope you had wonderful time with your family.

Happy New Year!


tulipedison said...

Wow when I read it I went to stores bought it and made it...Really tasty... Tanks a lot... I spreaded Patan ghee on it in a large amount... Check it out...

Frances said...

Best stuffing I've ever made, and the family agreed!

Thank you very much, and all the best for 2010

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