This recipe was presented by Maggie Beer during her popular ABC program The Cook and the Chef on 6 December 2006. Here’s what she had to say. “Can I admit that I had never cooked a turkey before I came up with this recipe? Turkey isn’t part of our Christmas fare, and if offered it elsewhere I’d ask for the stuffing and pass on the bird, only knowing dry meat with little flavour. What a difference a corn-fed free-range turkey makes! The big surprise was the oven bag – it produced such a moist and luscious bird that it converted me immediately.”
- 1 x 10 kg free-range, corn-fed turkey
- 65 g finely sliced prosciutto
- ½ teaspoon unbleached plain flour
- 1 kg frozen peeled chestnuts
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 500 ml wine
- 50 g butter
Apple And Prune Stuffing
- 100 g dried apple reconstituted in verjuice and chopped
- 100 ml verjuice
- 2 large brown onions
- 200 g pitted prunes reconstituted in verjuice and chopped
- 180 g chicken livers
- 15 g butter
- 125 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 4 tablespoons sage leaves chopped
- 2 table rosemary chopped
- 2 tablespoons thyme chopped
- 2½ cups fresh white
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the stuffing, roughly chop the dried apple and reconstitute it in the verjuice until soft, then drain. Finely chop the onions (to yield about 410g) and chop the prunes. Add the olive oil to the pan and cook the onion until translucent, adding the sage just before you take them off the heat. Fry the chicken liver whole just till seared on each side but pink inside. Remove the pan from the heat and rest the livers for 5 minutes, then cut them into large chunks, cleaning away any sinew.
2. In a large bowl, combine the freshly chopped herbs, breadcrumbs, onion, liver, prunes and apple, then season with salt and pepper. If the stuffing doesn’t hold together when you squeeze it together in your hands, add some more warm oil or butter to bind it. Fill the cavity of the turkey, massage softened butter on to the breast, sprinkle with salt flakes place an apple or onion to hold the stuffing in cavity just when ready to bake.
3. If your turkey is so large that it doesn’t fit in the bag, make sure that you have plenty of butter on the breast and have some baking paper to put over the breast, to help keep the moisture in. Cook at 180C for 40 minutes then reduce the heat to 120C for 21/2 hours, for a 10kg bird.
4. If smaller turkey put a tablespoon of four into an oven bag, then give the bag a shake and tip out any excess flour. Slide the turkey into the oven bag, repairing the prosciutto if any slices shift in the process. Tie the end of the bag well with kitchen string and slip it into another oven bag, then seal this too. Bake the turkey in its oven bags in a baking dish for 2 hours. Open the bag carefully and remove juices and refrigerate. Temp at 200C put turkey back into oven for 30 mins to colour.
5. Meanwhile, simmer the frozen chestnuts* in the chicken stock until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the cooking liquor.
6. Maggie made an enriched chicken stock to add to the chestnuts in chicken stock, by frying the turkey wings with onion and carrots, deglazing with white wine and then adding the liquid from the chestnuts to this, reducing rapidly until thick and syrupy.
7. Add the chestnuts to the glaze and warm through.
8. Serve the turkey on a large platter with the glazed chestnuts to the side, or pour the chestnut sauce over the top. Don’t forget the stuffing! Serves 16–20 for a 10kg bird.
*Frozen Chestnuts – I make this using Chestnuts, frozen peeled chestnuts available by mail order from an enterprising couple in Victoria’s north-east (yes, it’s us!). Having these in the freezer is so convenient that I’ve become lazy and now tend only to buy fresh chestnuts for roasting over an open fire in my much-favoured iron pan that has holes in the base for just this purpose.