The cornbread here is inspired by one from Louisiana chef Donald Link, from his book Real Cajun.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 100 gm mild pancetta, diced
- 300 gm good-quality spicy pork sausages, skins removed and coarsely crumbled
- 1 free-range turkey (5kg), at room temperature
- 160 gm polenta (1 cup)
- 150 gm plain flour (1 cup)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 165 ml milk (¾ cup)
- 125 ml buttermilk (½ cup)
- 60 gm butter, melted
- ½ beaten egg
- 10 gm lard
- 200 gm softened butter
- Finely grated rind of 1 orange
- 1 tbsp each cayenne pepper and sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
- 1½ tsp ground chilli
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 bacon rashers, rind removed, diced
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 kg royal blue potatoes, halved
- ½ bunch celery, thinly sliced
- 200 gm whole-egg mayonnaise
- 200 gm sour cream
- 3 golden shallots, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup coarsely chopped coriander
- 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Juice of 2 oranges and 2 limes
- 2 golden shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1For cornbread, preheat oven to 200C. Place a 12cm-diameter shallow cake tin or cast-iron ovenproof frying pan in oven to heat. Combine polenta, flour, sugar, baking powder, 2 tsp sea salt and ½ tsp black pepper in a large bowl. Whisk milk, buttermilk, butter and egg in a separate bowl, then whisk into dry ingredients. Add lard to pan, then pour in batter and bake until light golden and firm (30-40 minutes). Set aside in pan to cool.
- 2Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium- high heat, add onion and garlic and stir until tender (8-10 minutes). Add pancetta and stir until just cooked (2 minutes), then remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a bowl, add sausage meat, crumble in half the cornbread (reserve remainder), stir to combine, season to taste and set aside.
- 3For Creole-style butter, combine ingredients and ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper in a bowl, season to taste and set aside.
- 4Remove neck from turkey and place in a roasting pan. Rinse turkey inside and out, pat dry and place in pan. Carefully slide your fingers between the skin and meat of the breasts and thighs to separate, place Creole-style butter under skin and spread evenly. Stuff neck and body cavities of bird with cornbread stuffing, tie legs with string and roast, basting occasionally and covering with foil if skin gets too dark, until cooked (1¾-2 hours; see note).
- 5For Southern potato salad, cook bacon in a frying pan over high heat until crisp (2-4 minutes), then set aside to cool in fat. Cook eggs in boiling water until hard-boiled (8-9 minutes). Refresh in iced water, peel, dice and set aside. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until very tender (20-30 minutes), drain, then, while still warm, half mash, add bacon and fat, egg and remaining ingredients, season well to taste, stir to combine, then set aside.
- 6For sweet and sour herb dressing, combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Serve with turkey, Southern potato salad and reserved cornbread.
Note You can also dampen muslin with a good amount of melted butter and cover the turkey as it cooks to prevent it drying out, brushing turkey with the pan juices as you go.
Drink Suggestion: A jug of Mint Julep or plenty of ice-cold beer – or both. Drink suggestion by Max Allen
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