Preparing a turkey can be a rather overwhelming prospect. Such a big bird, so little experience of cooking it and the entire ravenous family sitting around the table waiting for its theatrical arrival!
*Do not fret*
Cooking a turkey is quicker and easier than you think, when you follow our step-by-step recipe below. Read on to discover some simple secrets to a succulent, tender bird, which you might not know.
We call this roast bird the Scarborough Fair turkey. With handfuls of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and a little Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background, you’ll easily guess where our inspiration came from 😉 Be reassured that I have tested this recipe on my family many times. They know what Christmas in July, August and even September tastes like!
Enjoy preparing it as the centrepiece of our Christmas Feast for sharing with those you love.
On behalf of us all here at the Palace, I wish you a safe, sunny and scintillating festive season.
You will need
For the turkey and stuffing:
1 x turkey weighing 4 kg or larger
80 g fresh parsley (4 punnets)
20 g fresh sage
20 g fresh rosemary
20 g fresh thyme*
350 g dry breadcrumbs
2 onions, finely chopped
250 g chicken livers, plus the liver from the turkey
500 g pork bangers (6 to 8 bangers)
2 large, free-range eggs, beaten.
1-2 cups hot water
250 ml dry white wine
Salt and pepper
*Palace Tip – air dry the thyme a week or so before required and the leaves will be far easier to remove from the stalks.
For the gravy:
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp duck fat/butter/olive oil for frying
2 rounded Tbsp cake flour
Pan juices from the turkey
1 Tbsp soya sauce, or more to taste
Salt and pepper
1. Thaw the turkey, remove giblets, setting the liver aside. Reserve the neck and the heart, cut into pieces. Rinse the bird inside and out and prop up to drip dry.
2. Prepare the stuffing by de-stalking the herbs and chopping finely. Keep a few sprigs for garnishing later. Keep the herb stalks to use as a tasty ‘trivet’ under the roasting turkey. Put the dry breadcrumbs into a large bowl and add the chopped herbs along with the onion. Give the dry mixture a few turns with a wooden spoon.
3. Chop the chicken and turkey livers finely. Squeeze the sausage meat from the skins. Add all meats to the herb/breadcrumb/onion mixture.
4. Moisten the mixture with the beaten eggs and 1 cup of the hot water. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Mix to combine thoroughly. Add the second cup of hot water, a little at a time, all the while assessing the consistency of your stuffing. If the mixture is too dry, add more hot water. You want to end up with a well-seasoned mixture which is ‘mouldable’. Do a little taste test to check seasoning and adjust to taste. Bread stuffing needs to be well seasoned.
5. Dust off your largest turkey roaster with a tight fitting lid, and lay the reserved herb stalks in the bottom along with the chopped turkey giblets. Place the turkey on top of this ‘trivet’. Stuff the cavity of the bird, either using your hands or a large serving spoon.
6. With your fingers, separate the breast skin from the meat, creating two secret pockets, which you can stuff liberally with all the remaining mixture, pushing it into every nook and cranny until it is used up. Covering the breast meat with stuffing in this way prevents the turkey from drying out. At this point you can turn on the oven to 200°C.
7. Pour a litre of warm water into the empty stuffing bowl, scraping all the flavoursome bits of stuffing down to form a stock. Pour this ‘stock’ around the turkey, along with the white wine. This tasty stock will keep your bird moist and should be about 5 cm deep throughout the roasting period.
8. Sprinkle the turkey liberally with salt and pepper, cover and put into a hot oven for 45 minutes, basting after half an hour to keep the bird moist. Turn the heat down to 180°C and roast for a further 45 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. If the stock evaporates too much, top up with hot water.
9. Remove from the oven and pour off the stock. Cover the turkey and leave to rest in a warm place.
10. Fry the onion for the gravy in a saucepan, in your preferred fat, until transparent. Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes to develop the gluten.
11. Add the pan juices, little by little, stirring with a whisk to avoid lumps. Add the soya sauce which will improve the colour of the gravy. Check the seasoning and adjust as needed.
Carve the turkey, or break into rustic chunks. Place on an oven-proof platter, moistened with some of the gravy, and warm in the oven. Serve sprinkled with the reserved fresh herbs and extra gravy on the side.
Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
For all of our Christmas Feast recipes plus Michael Olivier’s wine recommendation, head this way.
To see all of the recipes in our Pesto Princess Christmas Feast, head this way.