Bacon and Apple Stuffing
20 ml olive oil
3 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
130 g bacon, chopped
100 g butter
15 g sugar
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed (small)
100 g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
½ C (125 ml) apple cider
½ C (125 ml) chicken stock
30 ml sage, chopped
30 ml parsley, chopped
30 ml fresh thyme, picked
1 tsp (5 ml) lemon zest
50 g liver, minced
500 g stale bread (ciabatta), dried
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs (optional)
5-6 kg turkey, whole
salt and pepper
200 g carrots, cubed
200 g apples, cubed
200 g onions, cubed
200 g celery, cubed
2 oranges, halved
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
50 g butter
500 ml chicken stock
2 heads garlic, whole, cut in half crossways
16 baby onions, skinned
12 small to medium sized whole carrots, peeled
reserved juices (from roast)
100-150 ml white wine, sherry or cider
extra stock, as needed
beurre manie, as required
reserved turkey liver, cleaned and chopped (optional)
12 -16 whole potatoes, peeled
salt and pepper
rosemary or thyme, picked
100 g duck fat (use more if needed)
Bacon and Apple Stuffing
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until soft. Add the celery and bacon and continue to cook until the celery is soft. Add the butter, sugar and apples and continue to sauté allowing the mixture to caramelise slightly. Add the pecan nuts and garlic.
Add the cider to deglaze then add the stock and reduce by half.
Add the herbs, lemon zest and minced liver.
Add the bread and allow the liquid to be absorbed, continue mixing until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
The stuffing can be made the day before. I do not add egg to my stuffing but if a tighter stuffing is preferred, add three whole eggs when finishing off the stuffing.
As this is a big bird it will benefit from being covered for the first half of the cooking time in the oven. For a turkey between 5-6 kg allow 3-3¾ hours in the oven. Covering the bird with foil for the first 1-1 ½ hours, will avoid the skin burning. Take care not to wrap the foil too tightly around the skin as the foil will stick to the skin.
Remove giblets and neck, use with mire poix vegetables when roasting. Keep the liver for use later.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
Season the bird inside and outside with the salt and pepper.
Fill the cavity with the stuffing and truss the turkey. Rub the outside of the turkey with butter and place on a bed of the cut vegetables in a roasting pan. Add the giblets and necks. Add the oranges, thyme and bay leaves. Pour the stock into roasting pan and cover with foil (shiny side down).Remove the foil after 1 hour to check the turkey and rub with butter again.
Add the whole carrots, the baby onions and the whole garlic heads (cut across in half). Continue cooking and basting for the remaining time. Take care not to burn the turkey. If it gets too dark, place foil over it again to finish.
If using a thermometer to check the internal temperature, remove the turkey from the oven when it reaches 70 °C and allow to rest (temperature will rise to 78 °C after resting).
Remove carrots, onion and garlic.
Remove the turkey from the roasting pan while resting to make sure that you catch all of the juices. Rest covered.
As I do not have an exact recipe for the gravy, instinct must guide you. Retain all of the juices and drippings to make a great gravy. Deglaze the roasting pan with cider and place the liquid into a small saucepan over medium heat, making sure that all the pieces of the mirepoix, the neck and gizzards are added. Add more stock if needed and continue to reduce until the flavour is perfect. Add a small amount of beurre manié to thicken.
Strain and add chopped liver for the final sauce (optional).
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place into cold salted water. Bring to the boil for about a minute and half, remove and place in a colander. This is important as the potatoes must get moved around to ruffle the edges and surfaces as this creates delicious crispy bits.
Place in a roasting pan, season with salt, pepper and paprika and sprinkle with picked rosemary or thyme. Roast in duck fat for about 40- 60 minutes depending on the size. Turn potatoes regularly to ensure even browning.