I was looking for this recipe earlier today and finally found it. We made it about ten years ago and it came out wonderfully. Just logging it here so I don’t have to go searching for it again next time I want it.
Serves 6 to 8
The big problem with cooking turkey is that the legs take longer to cook than the breasts. This means the breasts dry out in the oven waiting for the legs to catch up. In this recipe, I push sage and apricot stuffing up under the turkey breast skin, increasing the thickness of the breasts so they take the same time to cook as the legs. The result? Juicy turkey all round!
Some people brine the turkey, some people don’t. Personally, I like to rub the turkey with table salt inside and out and put it in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate it overnight (12 to 24 hours). This removes all the excess moisture and allows it to cook beautifully.
12 small fresh rosemary sprigs, plus few extra
At least 8 cloves of garlic, 2 peeled
6 strips pancetta (smoked bacon)
9- to 10-pound organic free-range turkey
4 shallots, roughly chopped
1 big orange
1 teaspoon flour
1 quart or vegetable stock, for the gravy
A little white wine or sherry (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. To prep the turkey, rub it with salt inside and out 12 to 24 hours before cooking; table salt is fine. Store the salted turkey in a plastic bag and refrigerate. When ready to cook, rinse or wipe off excess salt. Pat it dry with paper towels and place on a board. Make a bed of roughly chopped shallots, 6 unpeeled garlic cloves, and carrots in your roasting pan to act as a rack.
Slice the strips of pancetta in half and slice the peeled garlic into thin slivers. Place a rosemary sprig and a garlic sliver on one end of a strip of pancetta and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the other pieces of pancetta until you have 12 little rolls.
Stab the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in 6 places on each side. Push your finger into each slit to create a gap. Place each pancetta roll into the holes until it just peeps out. Find the edge of the skin at the turkey neck and with a rubber spatula or large spoon separate the skin from breast meat so that you can put the stuffing under the skin of the turkey breast. If you’re careful you should be able to separate all the skin from the meat, keeping it attached at the sides but without ripping any holes in it.
From the neck end of the turkey, spoon the stuffing up between the skin and the breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop any leaking out during cooking. Microwave the orange for 30 to 60 seconds to get it nice and hot. Poke a hole in the hot orange and stuff it into the turkey cavity. You can also add some rosemary to the cavity.
Place the bird in roasting pan filled with the vegetables, season well with salt and pepper, and rub olive oil all over. Weigh the stuffed bird, cover with foil, and roast for 18 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if pierced with a knife or a skewer. Remove foil for the last 45 minutes to brown the bird.
Remove the turkey and rest on a board for 20 minutes.
Remove most of the fat from the roasting pan. Mash the roast vegetables right in the pan with a potato masher. Add the flour, sherry and stock and bring to a boil on a high heat. When the gravy thickens, strain into a bowl. Serve the turkey with the gravy.