Tremendously Moist Terrific Turkey
1 turkey between 3 and 5 kgs
200g streaky bacon finely chopped
400g pork mince finely chopped
2 cups onion finely chopped
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs/roast sweet potato /roast potato
2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
2 cloves garlic (optional)
Zest and juice of one lemon (optional)
1 teaspoon turmeric (purely for colour)
3 tablespoons naughty butter (this will help give the turkey breast some personality and flavour)
I know this seems like a lot of onion but you will thank me!
Start by heating a frying pan or large enough pan with a little spray of canola or vegetable oil. Add the bacon to the pan when the pan is swear word hot…it should sizzle and ‘talk’ to you, don’t stir straight away, let the first lot of bacon on the bottom brown deliciously before stirring. Lots of stirring will cool down the pan too quickly and you don’t want bacon stew. If you are worried, at any stage, about this burning give the pan a good firm ‘cheffy’ shake.
Once the bacon is sexy and brown and the fat has rendered out the bacon, keep the heat high and add the pork mince. Let the pan get back to temperature and only stir to prevent from burning. Using two forks to get rid of the pork mince lumps is a good idea, I also sometimes stab my mince with the base of a whisk…breaks it up really well! When the pork components are brown and beautiful you can now add the finely diced onions, garlic, sage, lemon zest, turmeric and nutmeg. You can now reduce the heat and allow those onions to cook down. When soft and it’s all smelling like a little bit of heaven, add the butter, breadcrumbs/roast sweet potato or cooked potato and the lemon juice. Stir and season. Allow to cool.
Now while cooling you can tackle the turkey. What we are going to do here is cut the turkey down the backbone and then open it out flat so that it cooks faster. We can get a 3.5kg bird to cook down in 1.5 hours by using this technique.
You need a big board and a sharp knife. Place the turkey breast down on the board.
Cut down the back bone either to the left or right of the spine (don’t cut directly in the middle it’s just too difficult!). Once the back is open turn the bird over and break it’s breast bone with your palm and break it flat. Place on the roasting tray. Is your oven preheated to 160c?
Put the neck side facing closest to you and then loosen the skin away from the turkey all the way down to the drumsticks, you’re basically creating a ‘turkey envelope’ to put your stuffing into!
Use a large tablespoon to feed the cool stuffing onto each breast and then push the stuffing down right over the drumstick. Refill on top of the breast and then reshape the bird. If you have stuffing left over take a piece of foil, grease it well and then roll the remaining stuffing into a sausage. Seal the foil and then this can be baked about half an hour before serving the bird.
Rub the skin with lots of olive oil and salt. I even add a bit of turmeric, just a sprinkle, to the skin and rub some oil in with it to create a turkey spray tan. Season with salt and then place in oven for approximately 3 hours. If you need to speed things up, up the temp to 190c and the bird should be done in 1h45. Check if juices are running clear, I always check in the breast down by the breastbone to make sure.
This turkey will be terribly terrific to carve too and all that juicy goodness will cook in to the usually boring turkey meat.
Share your turkey success stories with me! Here’s a link to a similar dish with the exact same stuffing method but done on a spatchcock hen or chicken.