Succulent turkey with a chestnut stuffing and the trimmings.
Preparation time: 20 Minutes
Cooking time: 180 Minutes
Cooling Time: 30
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 rashers unsmoked streaky bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
15g pack fresh sage, chopped
1 pack vacuum packed chestnuts or 150g can chestnuts, drained and crumbled
1 large egg, beaten
200g fresh breadcrumbs
4.5kg fresh turkey
10 chipolata sausages
10 rashers smoked streaky bacon
For the stuffing: Fry the onions and unsmoked streaky bacon gently in the olive oil and butter for 4 minutes. Add the crushed fennel seeds, sage, and chestnuts, add a little seasoning and cook for a further 3 minutes over a medium heat, until the ingredients have all flavoured each other. Season to taste, and pour it out onto a tray to cool quickly. Once at room temperature, pop it into the fridge until chilled.
Put the chilled stuffing mixture back in to a bowl, add the sausagemeat, egg and breadcrumbs and combine to bind the mixture together. Place two thirds of the stuffing into an oven proof dish ready to cook later. Reserve the remainder to stuff the turkey.
Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170 °C, gas 5. Remove the turkey giblets. Fill the neck cavity with the reserved stuffing and then replace the skin and secure either by sewing underneath the bird or by using cocktail sticks to hold the skin in place. If you wish, rub the bird with a little softened butter. Cover the turkey loosely in aluminium foil and cook for 3 hours. Baste occasionally after the first 30 minutes of cooking time.
Prepare the sausages: Stretch the bacon rashers and use to wrap around the chipolata sausages. Arrange on a baking sheet and chill until ready to cook them in the oven.
For the final 50 minutes of turkey cooking, remove the foil to crisp up the skin. Once the turkey is cooked, take it out of the oven, put onto a plate and let it rest.
Now add the sausages and stuffing to the oven and cook until golden and crisp.
For the gravy:
Skim off most of the fat from the turkey juices, put the roasting tray onto the hob at a low heat to simmer, and stir in a good tablespoon of flour. Keep stirring until thickened. After about 1 minute, add 1 pint of chicken or turkey stock, a little at a time to start with until it’s all mixed together. Bring to the boil and simmer until the gray coats the back of a spoon.
Serve the turkey with all the trimmings and the gravy.
Cook’s tip: Always test the turkey to ensure it has been thoroughly cooked. Pierce the turkey between the leg and the breast with a knife or skewer, the juices must run clear. If they are still pink, return the bird to the oven for a further 15 minutes and then test again.
The turkey will carve much better after it has been left to rest. Cover it well with foil and clean tea towels, the bird will keep very hot for at least 30 minutes.
What size turkey should I buy?
3kg: 6-7 people; 3.5kg: 7-8 people; 4kg: 8-9 people; 4.5kg 9-10 people; 5kg 10-11 people; 5.5kg 11-12 people; 6kg 12-13 people; 6.5kg: 14-15 people; 7kg: 15-16 people; 7.5kg 16-17 people.