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Maggie Beer's Christmas Turkey with Pistachio Stuffing

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5.6kg corn-fed turkey (remove from fridge at least two hours before cooking.

1/2 Lemon

Flour, for dusting

2 Tablespoons Seville Marmalade

1/4 Cup Verjuice (or white wine)

60g Butter 

4-5 Medium Onions, Chopped

1/3 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 1/2 Cups Chopped Fresh Mixed Herbs (such as parsley, sage, marjoram, rosemary & thyme)

1 Cup Pistachios

1/3 Cup Candied Cumquats

1 Tablespoon Preserved Lemon (these are salty so don't add extra salt)

3 1/2 Cups Fresh Breadcrumbs



To make the stuffing: Caramelise the onions in olive oil, adding herbs for the final minute, toast the pistachios and chop up cumquats, preserved lemon peel and herbs. Add onion mix to breadcrumbs and other stuffing ingredients. Mix until combined and feeling juicy but not sludgy. If the mix is too dry splash in a little extra olive oil. Let the stuffing cool.

Clean out the internal cavity of the turkey. Wipe it dry and rub some lemon in there. Pre-heat the oven to 170C. Fill bird with the stuffing. Really push the stuffing into the bird. Pull the flaps of skin over to close the cavity. Secure with a skewer if you need the security.

Massage bird with olive oil and salt. Dust the inside of an oven bag with 1 tablespoon plain flour. Now pop the bird into the oven bag breast side up and tie it off. Place it in a deep oven dish in case the bag splits - this means you can still save the vital juices!

Pop the turkey in the oven at 170C. After an hour carefully turn the bird over to breast side down. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 150C. After another 15 minutes, check to see if the meat is pulling away from the wing or the base of the leg, in which case it is almost cooked. However, it could take another half an hour, depending on your oven.

Now, remove bird from the oven. Cut the bag and pour the juices into the pan. Scrape the pan and pour the juices and scrapings into a tall jug. You should get 250-275ml of juices. Chill the juices in the fridge. This will help you take the fat off the top easily.

Glaze the bird with 2 tablespoons marmalade and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Return to oven and turn it up to 200C for 10 to 15 minutes (but check if it needs more colour to the breast).

Check bird with a meat thermometer. You want the probe in the thickest part of the thigh to reach 68C. Take the bird out of the oven and turn it upside down (on its breast) for at least 40 minutes, covered with foil. Initially the breast's temperature will be less than 65C, but as the turkey rests the cooking process will continue and the temperature will rise. Serve when the breast reaches 65C.

While the turkey is resting, make the gravy. On the stove, deglaze the pan with verjuice. Take the jug of juices from the fridge and remove the fat. Pour the juices into the pan, stir and reduce over the heat until it thickens to a saucy consistency. If you want you can add extra marmalade and whisk in small cubes of the butter to make it more velvety.

Carve the bird and serve with the stuffing, loads of roast potatoes, the gravy and all the usual seasonal trimmings, like cranberry sauce and bread sauce. Eat turkey warm or at room temperature.



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