This is the most wonderful way to serve a turkey at Christmas. Ask your butcher to bone the birds for you, but make sure they leave the bones in the turkey drumsticks and outer wings. These will help to make the reconstructed bird look like a turkey again. You need a trussing needle and some butchers’ string.
- 1 x 5kg turkey, boned but with drumsticks and outer wing bones intact
- 2 boneless duck breasts, skinned
- 2 boneless pheasant breasts, skinned
- 2 boneless guinea fowl breasts and 2 boneless thighs, skinned
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- 30g butter
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Cox apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 1 tsp golden caster sugar
- 25g chopped hazelnuts
- 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped curly parsley
- 600g sausage meat
- 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tbsp dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp chopped curly parsley
- 1 egg, beaten
1. For the first stuffing, melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and apple and soften them over a gentle heat without browning. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the nuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Tip the mixture into a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs and herbs. Season well. For the second stuffing, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season well.
2. Lay the boned turkey out on a flat surface, skin side down, and season it with salt and pepper. Spread over some of the first stuffing, then put a duck breast on each side. Add some of the second stuffing to fill the spaces and make the surface smooth. Add the remaining meats in the same way, alternating the stuffings and seasoning each layer.
3. Now pull the sides of the turkey together (like a cardigan) – another pair of hands is invaluable here. Tuck in the edges and, using a trussing needle and butchers’ string, stitch the turkey together very securely, starting at the neck end. Turn the bird over so the stitched side is underneath. Now take a really long piece of string – about 3 metres. Start by knotting the crossed drumsticks together using the mid-section of the string. Then criss-cross the strings underneath the bird and take them round the back, pulling the drumsticks in to make a neater shape. Criss-cross them again and take them back round the wings to the neck end, pulling the wings into the sides, and tie securely. You could also tie another piece of string around the bird to hold it together. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5.
4. Weigh the bird and work out the cooking time – it will need about 40 minutes per kilogram. Place it in a roasting tin, then roast it for the required time. Fifteen minutes before the end of the cooking time, turn the heat up to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7 to brown the skin. Remove the turkey from the oven, put it on a board and cover with a double layer of foil. Leave it to rest for 1 hour.
5. Remove the string. Cut the turkey down the middle with a serrated knife. Taking one half at a time, turn it cut side down and carve it across into slices. Each slice will contain a mixture of meats and stuffing.
Recipe from Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery Course by Rosemary Shrager (BBC Books, £20) Photography by Andrew Hayes-Watkins