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I’ve always wanted to cook a turkey and have that American Christmas. It’s something you always see on TV with the centrepiece being this just golden brown turkey straight out from the oven looking ever so lovely. This recipe I’ve tried a couple of times and the stuffing that goes with it is absolutely delicious. It can really take quite sometime to prepare and wait for it to cook but the end result is always satisfying. Check out the recipe below, I believe it’s from Women’s Weekly Christmas Edition from a couple years back.

Christmas Turkey with  Pine Nut, Herb and Bacon Stuffing

Ingredients

5kg turkey (I used a ~4kg turkey)
60g butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (375ml) salt-reduced chicken stock (or enough to cover the pan)

Pine Nut, Herb and Bacon Stuffing
125g butter
2 medium (300g) brown onions, chopped finely
2 trimmed (200g) celery stalks, chopped finely (did not include)
4 rashers bacon, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups (200g) loosely packed coarse fresh white sourdough breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (80g) toasted pine nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 egg, beaten lightly

Gravy
60g butter
50g plain flour
1 cup (250ml) dry white wine
1 1/2 cups (375ml) salt-reduced chicken stock

Method
Pine Nut, Herb and Bacon Stuffing:
1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat; cook the onions, celery, bacon and garlic, stirring, until softened; cool. Combine onion mixture in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients

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2. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Discard neck from turkey if still intact. Briefly rinse turkey under cold waterl pat dry inside and out with absorbent paper. Fill neck cavity loosely with some of the stuffing (don’t pack too tightly, as it will stop the meat from cooking evenly). Secure skin over the opening with toothpicks to enclose stuffing. Fill large cavity loosely with remaining stuffing (you may have some stuffing leftover). Tie legs together with kitchen strings tuck wings under.

3. Place turkey on oiled rack in a large flameproof baking fish. Brush turkey all over with half of the butter, rub a little salt onto skin. Pour the stock into the dish. Cover dish tightly with greased foil; roast for 2 hours. Uncover turkey; brush with remaining butter. Roast, uncovered, for a further 1 hour 30 minutes or until browned all over and cooked through, adding more water to the dish if needed. Remove turkey from dish, cover turkey with foil; stand for 15 minutes while preparing gravy.

Gravy
4. Pour turkey pan juices from dish into a medium heatproof jug discard fat from surface of pan juices. Heat the butter in same baking dish, add flour; cook, stirring, until mixture is well browned. Gradually stir in wine; bring to the boil. Stir in reserved pan juices and stock; bring back to the boil and simmer, stirring until gravy thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain gravy into a jug. Serve with turkey (Not suitable to freeze or microwave)

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Side Note:
Thawing Your Turkey
Allow time for thawing a frozen turkey. A 5 kg turkey will take about 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator. Place it on a tray in its original packaging or covered with plastic wrap

Checking if the Turkey is Cooked
Test it by inserting a skewer sideways into the thickest part of the thigh, then remove and press flesh to release the juices. If the juices runs clear, then the turkey is cooked.
Or, you can use a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. It should reach 90C

You can cook the stuffing separately
Make it as per the recipe but increasing the eggs to 2 eggs. Shape into a 28cm log on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Once the turkey is cooked, increase the oven temperature to 200C (180C fan-forced). Cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes or until well browned and crisp.

Carving Your Turkey
1. Remove kitchen string. Cut through the skin between the breast and the leg and push the leg away from the breast to make room to carve

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2. Begin carving slices off the breast, starting at the top of the breastbone and slicing at an angle away from the centre of the bird. Cave as much as your family needs

3. Separate drumsticks from the thigh by cutting through the knuckle at the point of the bend.

4. Make a vertical cut above the wing through the body and remove. Repeat these steps for the other side of the turkey.

Cooking Times for Turkey Sizes
2kg to 3kg – 1 hour 30 mins to 2 hours 15 mins
3.1kg to 4kg – 2 hours 15 mins to 2 hours 45 mins
4.1kg to 5kg – 2 hours 45 mins to 3 hours 30 mins
5.1kg to 6kg – 3 hours 30 mins to 4 hours 15 mins
6.1kg to 7kg – 4 hours 30 mins to 5 hours 30 mins

Impressions

Following the recipe to a T, it works out wonderfully. The meat of the turkey comes out so buttery smooth and just cooked to perfection. It can be very easy to overcook turkey. I find it you stick with those meat thermometer recommended temperatures like at 90C it can be a tad dry. I find that you can have great tasting turkey at around 77C but should be at least 74C for health and safety reasons.

The stuffing is the best stuffing I’ve ever had, and the parsley and pine nuts play a big part in that. It truly is a wonderful recipe. I’ve never tried the gravy to be honest, as I like to eat turkey with just a bit of tabasco sauce but I think most gravies taste similar so never bothered with it. The recipe is also very easy to follow and the hardest part is basically making sure the turkey is cooked right so once you got that down, cooking turkey will become a breeze.

 

 

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