Okay, let’s get one thing straight. There is far too much stress about cooking The Turkey on The Big Day. I know the food (and especially the turkey) are important on Christmas day, but PLEASE, it’s essentially just a big roast for more people than usual. We (and I include myself) need to keep some perspective and treat it as such! Christmas is the sum of so many things; family, nearest and dearest, a little time off work if we can get it, maybe some games and presents if we’ve been good boys and girls and of course delicious food and drink. The turkey is not the star of the whole day for me, my family are, but it should still be succulent and taste amazing.
Hazelnut and cranberry stuffing is both soothingly nutty and berrry-sharp, satisfying my tart loving tastebuds. The wholesome, crunchy textured hazelnuts marry perfectly to the sour cranberry pocketed explosions. Great with the turkey and possibly even better in the obligatory turkey sandwich later on. Here’s a little video if you’d like to watch and the full recipe with all the nutritional info is here.
- 100g unsalted butter
- 3 onions, 1 finely chopped, 2 quartered
- 15g pack fresh thyme, ½ with leaves removed and chopped; ½ sprigs left intact
- 28g pack fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 200g roasted hazelnuts, chopped
- 400g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 100g dried cranberries
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 medium eggs
- 5kg turkey
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. In a medium frying pan, heat 50g of the butter, then add the chopped onion and cook gently for 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped herbs and hazelnuts, and cook for a further minute.
- Transfer to a bowl and add the breadcrumbs, cranberries, lemon zest and egg, and mix well. Season well with freshly ground black pepper. Push half the stuffing up under the skin at the neck end of the turkey and secure tightly with 4 cocktail sticks.
- Roll the remaining stuffing mixture into 16 balls and put onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- Put the remaining onion quarters and the thyme sprigs into the turkey cavity and rub the rest of the butter on top of the bird.Weigh the stuffed bird and calculate 20 minutes per kg plus 90 minutes (a stuffed bird this size should take approximately 3½ – 4hours).
- Place the turkey in a large roasting tin, covered with greased foil, basting with the turkey juices every 45 minutes, until cooked through*.
- Remove the foil from the turkey for the last 25 minutes of cooking time to brown the surface. When cooked, remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes covered with foil.
- Put the stuffing balls in the oven for 20 minutes while the turkey is resting. Remove and serve with the turkey and other side dishes.
*To test whether the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg – the juices should run clear.
Get experimenting with any dried fruit you have in your cupboard. Cranberries are colourful and Christmassy, but dried apricots or prunes will also work well.