This Christmas turkey with two stuffings is perfect centrepiece for your Christmas day feast, from the fabulous Hairy Bikers.
Why settle for one type of stuffing with your Christmas day feast? This recipe features a double dose that is just packed with festive flavours. The sweet, nutty apricot and almond stuffing contrast with the classic chestnut and sage. In this recipe, the Hairy Bikers' stuffing goes inside the bird itself, where it gets even more flavour from the turkey juices. The Hairy Bikers say: "Some people complain that turkey is dry and tasteless, but it needn’t be. We reckon dry turkey is down to overcooking the bird, not the meat itself."
- 6kg oven-ready turkey, thoroughly thawed if frozen
- 100g softened butter
- 8 rashers good-quality dry-cured back or streaky bacon
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the chestnut and sage stuffing:
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 medium onion,
- finely chopped turkey liver (optional)
- 150g vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 225g good-quality pork sausagemeat
- 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
- finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1 bunch (20–30g) fresh sage, leaves finely chopped or 1 tbsp dried sage
- salt and pepper
For the apricot and almond stuffing:
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 100g no-soak apricots, roughly chopped
- 100g blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- 225g good-quality pork sausagemeat
- finely grated zest of 1 well-scrubbed orange
- 75g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the chestnut & sage stuffing: Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over a low heat until softened and lightly coloured. Add the chopped liver if you saved it when making the giblet stock and fry it with the onion for 2 minutes, stirring. Tip everything into a large bowl and leave to cool for while – it’s important that the onions are cool before mixing with the uncooked sausagemeat. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, mix well with clean hands, then set aside.
- For the apricot & almond stuffing: Place the same frying pan over a low heat, heat the oil and gently fry the onion and garlic for 5–6 minutes until softened and lightly coloured. Tip everything into a large bowl and leave to cool for while – it’s important that the onions are cool before mixing with the uncooked sausagemeat. Stir in the apricots, almonds, sausagemeat, orange zest, breadcrumbs, parsley and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with clean hands and set aside.
- For the turkey: Put the turkey on a board and remove the neck and giblets, which should be in the body cavity. Make a note of how much the turkey weighs so you can calculate the cooking time. Before you start stuffing the turkey, make sure the inside is completely defrosted. It’s important that the heat penetrates right through the bird and into the stuffing so it is thoroughly cooked.
- Using your hands, fill the turkey cavity with the chestnut and sage mixture. This stuffing needs to be fairly loose to allow the hot air to circulate around it when it is inside the turkey.
- Put the apricot and almond stuffing in the neck end of the bird, between the flesh and the skin. Push it in firmly, reaching as far up the breast as you can. Pull the neck flap over the stuffing and tuck it under the bird, securing with a small skewer if necessary. Place the turkey, breast side up, in a large, sturdy roasting tin and spread softened butter all over the breast. Season the bird, lay the bacon over the breast and cover the legs with foil.
- Take a large sheet of foil and wrap it loosely over the whole bird. Either tuck the sides in around the turkey itself or fold them under the edges of the tin to make a tightly sealed parcel. Make sure you leave enough space under the foil for hot air to circulate around the bird as it cooks. The legs have a double thickness of foil as they will cook quickly and need some extra protection.
- Work out how long the turkey will need to roast by adding 1kg for the stuffings to its weight and calculating 20 minutes cooking time per kg, plus 90 minutes. (Our Turkey Timer will help you work this out (opens in new tab)) A 6kg turkey will need about 3 hours 50 minutes. Roast the turkey according to your calculations. Roughly 50 minutes before the turkey is due to be ready, remove the foil and continue roasting for 10 minutes or until the bacon crisps and browns. Push the bacon off the breast into the tin and continue roasting for another 10 minutes to brown the breast.
- After this time, take the turkey out of the oven and check if it is cooked. The simplest way is to use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat – the temperature should be 71°C. Another way to test the turkey is to pierce the thickest part of the leg with a skewer and press the skewer against the leg. Watch as the juices run out. If they are clear, the turkey is cooked. If they are tinged with pink, the turkey will need to be returned to the oven and cooked for longer. If the turkey is ready, carefully transfer it to a large serving platter – you may need some assistance here. Cover the turkey with foil and place a small towel over it to keep it warm.
This recipe is taken from The Hairy Bikers’ 12 Days of Christmas, which is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20.00.
Top tip for Hairy Bikers' Christmas turkey with two stuffings
The Bikers say: 'Our advice is to watch it carefully towards the end of the cooking time and start testing for doneness around 30 minutes before the calculated time is up. Wrapped in foil and covered with a towel, the turkey will keep warm for up to an hour if necessary.'
How long do I cook a turkey for?
As a general rule, in an oven set at 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4, a turkey will need to be cooked for approximately 20 mins per kg plus an extra 1hr 10 mins. For example, a 4kg turkey will require 2 hrs 30mins. Then it will need to rest for 25-45 minutes before carving (this step is important, so don't skip it). Stuffed birds take longer to cook, use our Turkey Timer to check your cooking times and remember to leave extra time for resting.
How can I tell when a turkey is done?
The best way to tell if turkey is fully cooked is to stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and the thigh. It should read a constant 70ºC. Take the bird out of the oven at this point (it will rise to 72ºC as it rests, out of the oven). You can also stick a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and if the juices run clear, rather than slightly pinkish, the bird is probably done, though this is a less reliable method.
Can I cook the stuffing separately from the bird?
Yes, if you prefer simple cook the stuffings in a baking dish. Grease the sides of the dish with some butter before you start. Adjust the turkey cooking time accordingly.
Where can I find more tips on cooking a turkey?
Find out everything you need to know about cooking a turkey to perfection with our how to cook a turkey step-by-step guide - including easy to follow guide.
You might also like...