Brining the turkey and layering it with pancetta keeps the meat succulent. The turkey we've used here is smaller than most and may need to be ordered ahead. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 1 small turkey (about 4kg)
- 3 onions, cut into wedges
- 800 ml dry white wine
- 1.2 litres good-quality chicken stock
- 40 gm softened butter
- 18 slices flat pancetta
- 2 tbsp rosemary
- 125 gm caster sugar
- 100 ml white wine vinegar
- 200 gm cherries, pitted
- 1 golden shallot, finely chopped
- 1 rosemary sprig, finely chopped
- 200 gm frozen cranberries, defrosted
- 250 gm rock salt
- 200 gm white sugar
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 fresh bay leaves
Chestnut, rosemary and apple stuffing
- 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 250 gm coarse fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
- 150 gm pork and fennel sausages, skins removed, meat coarsely crumbled
- 100 gm peeled cooked chestnuts, coarsely chopped (see note)
- 1 small green apple, finely chopped
- Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, juice of ½
- 1For cherry-cranberry preserve, stir sugar and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, add cherries, shallot and rosemary and simmer until cherries begin to soften (6-7 minutes). Add cranberries, stir occasionally until thick (10-12 minutes), season to taste, set aside to cool, then refrigerate until required.
- 2For brine, combine ingredients and 8 litres water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium, simmer for 5 minutes, then cool to room temperature, transfer to a non-reactive container and refrigerate to chill. Submerge turkey in brine and refrigerate to lightly cure (24 hours). Before roasting, drain turkey, pat dry with absorbent paper inside and out and bring to room temperature (1-2 hours).
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. For chestnut, rosemary and apple stuffing, melt butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat, add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until tender (8-10 minutes). Add rosemary, stir to combine, transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add remaining ingredients, season to taste and stir to combine.
- 4Spoon chestnut, rosemary and apple stuffing into turkey cavity, truss legs with kitchen string and place in a large roasting pan. Add onion, 400ml wine and 400ml stock to pan. Rub turkey with butter, layer pancetta slices over, cover breast with foil and roast, basting frequently, for 1¼ hours (if necessary, top up the pan with extra stock; reserve 500ml).
- 5Remove foil from turkey and roast until golden and juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer (35-45 minutes). Transfer turkey and onion to a large platter, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest (keep warm). Skim excess fat from pan, deglaze with remaining wine and stock, stir over medium heat until liquid is reduced to a thick sauce (10-15 minutes), season to taste and stir in rosemary. Serve with turkey, onions and cherry-cranberry preserve.
Note Peeled cooked chestnuts are available from select grocers and delicatessens.
Drink Suggestion: Full-bodied sangiovese. Drink suggestion by Max Allen