The Best Turkey!

Everything I made for Thanksgiving was vegan except for this, the most ridiculous turkey imaginable. It’s got a pork stuffing under the skin, to keep the breast meat moist, and bacon, garlic, and rosemary in the legs which flavor them nicely. I know you may be maxed out on turkey right now, but Jamie Oliver seems to think that this is good for Christmas, so…

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • a sprig of sage, leaves picked
  • 12 strips of pancetta or thinly sliced bacon
  • 1 bulb of garlic broken into cloves
  • 4 medium red onions, peeled
  • 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • a big handful of breadcrumbs
  • a handful of dried apricots
  • 10 1/2 ounces ground pork
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 small fresh rosemary sprigs, plus a few extra
  • 9-10 pound turkey, at room temperature
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 large orange
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 pints chicken or vegetable stock

Heat a saucepan until medium hot and add the butter, sage, and half of the pancetta or bacon.

This immediately smells good!

Peel and chop two of the garlic cloves and one of the onions. Add the garlic, onion, and celery to the saucepan and fry everything gently until soft and golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the bread crumbs. While the mixture cools, roughly chop the apricots and stir them in. I didn’t think the apricot I ate at the time was great, but once they were a part of the stuffing they were a good addition. Once the stuffing has cooled, add the pork, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg, and some salt and pepper. Stir everything together well.

Smells even better now!

Preheat the oven to the highest it goes.

Slice the remaining pancetta or bacon in half and slice one or two of the garlic cloves until you get 12 small slivers of garlic. Place a sprig of rosemary and a sliver of garlic on one end of a piece of pancetta or bacon and roll it up, repeating with each.

I got Kyle to do this while I made the stuffing.

Wipe the turkey down with paper towels, inside and out. Stab the thighs and drumsticks in six places on each side and push the pancetta/bacon roll into the hole until it just barely sticks out. I had accidentally bought thickly sliced bacon, so it was fairly difficult to cram in, but we made it work!

Starting on the neck end of the turkey, work your fingers under the edge of the skin. Slowly work your hand in there, detaching the skin as you go, working all the way to the back of the turkey. It takes some time, but you can do it!

Once the skin is loosened, put the pork stuffing up there under the skin, small handful by small handful. If it grows lumpy in one area, you can even out the stuffing by running your hand along the outside of the skin. Once the stuffing is evenly distributed under the skin, tuck the edge of the skin under to hold it in.

There's a lot going on under that skin!

There’s no point putting the little pop-up thermometer thing back in, as apparently that huge layer of stuffing makes it not work.

Microwave the orange for 30 seconds to make it hot and then stuff it into the cavity at the other end of the turkey. Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time – 20 minutes per pound.

We weighed Kyle, then Kyle + turkey. Our turkey had gained 3 pounds of stuff!

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan and rub it all over with olive oil. Salt and pepper well. Slice the carrots thickly and add them to the pan. Cut the remaining 3 onions in half and add them as well as the remaining garlic.

Cover with foil and place in the preheated oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees and roast until 45 minutes before the calculated time. Remove the foil and cook the remaining time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you poke it.

Carefully remove the turkey to a carving board and cover with foil. Take the tray with all the vegetables and turkey drippings and skim the fat. Add the flour and broth and put on the stove over high heat.

Boil until the gravy has started to thicken, then strain into a bowl. We tossed the onions and garlic but kept the carrots, and they were the greatest carrots I have ever eaten.

Carve the turkey, serve with the gravy, and enjoy!

There's a lot going on in here!

So much pork stuffing!

Considering I’d never cooked anything bigger than a chicken breast before…not bad!

The Best Roast Turkey

From Cook With Jamie by Jamie Oliver.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • a sprig of sage, leaves picked
  • 12 strips of pancetta or thinly sliced bacon
  • 1 bulb of garlic broken into cloves
  • 4 medium red onions, peeled
  • 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • a big handful of breadcrumbs
  • a handful of dried apricots
  • 10 1/2 ounces ground pork
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 small fresh rosemary sprigs, plus a few extra
  • 9-10 pound turkey, at room temperature
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 large orange
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 pints chicken or vegetable stock

Heat a saucepan until medium hot and add the butter, sage, and half of the pancetta or bacon.

Peel and chop two of the garlic cloves and one of the onions. Add the garlic, onion, and celery to the saucepan and fry everything gently until soft and golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the bread crumbs. While the mixture cools, roughly chop the apricots and stir them in. Once the stuffing has cooled, add the pork, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg, and some salt and pepper. Stir everything together well and set aside.

Preheat the oven to the highest it goes.

Slice the remaining pancetta or bacon in half and slice one or two of the garlic cloves until you get 12 small slivers of garlic. Place a sprig of rosemary and a sliver of garlic on one end of a piece of pancetta or bacon and roll it up, repeating with each remaining piece until you have 12 rolls.

Wipe the turkey down with paper towels, inside and out. Stab the thighs and drumsticks in six places on each side and push the pancetta/bacon roll into the hole until it just barely sticks out.

Starting on the neck end of the turkey, work your fingers under the edge of the skin. Slowly work your hand in there, detaching the skin as you go, working all the way to the back of the turkey. Once the skin is loosened, put the pork stuffing up there under the skin, small handful by small handful. Once the stuffing is evenly distributed under the skin, tuck the edge of the skin under to hold it in.

Microwave the orange for 30 seconds to make it hot and then stuff it into the cavity at the other end of the turkey. Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time – 20 minutes per pound.

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan and rub it all over with olive oil. Salt and pepper well. Slice the carrots thickly and add them to the pan. Cut the remaining 3 onions in half and add them as well as the remaining garlic.

Cover with foil and place in the preheated oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees and roast until 45 minutes before the calculated time. Remove the foil and cook the remaining time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you poke it.

Carefully remove the turkey to a carving board and cover with foil. Take the tray with all the vegetables and turkey drippings and skim the fat. Add the flour and broth and put on the stove over high heat. Boil until the gravy has started to thicken, then strain into a bowl.

Uncover the turkey, carve, and serve with the gravy.

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About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. I write a food blog and a blog about life, wide open spaces, and museum work. Nice to meet you!
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