10 December 2012

Roast Turkey with Freekeh

 Ok - this is not the easiest part of a Christmas Dinner, and so breaks my usual slap-dash rules of only 3-4 steps. Sorry about that - nothing to do. It is however not a hard recipe as far as roast turkeys go - just a simple roast, no brining or anything like that. Let's start you with the stuffing, which is really just chopping, browning and stirring, then I'll move through the trickier bits...

Freekeh Stuffing Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, to drizzle
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 150g minced veal
  • 205g (1¼ cups) freekeh (washed well and soaked for 1 hour)
  • 2 tsp shawarma spice
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 750ml (3 cups) chicken stock or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup dried barberries
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add veal and cook until browned
  2. Add freekeh and shawarma spice, then cook, stirring, until fragrant and freekeh is well coated (a minute or so).
  3. Add stock and salt, and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until freekeh is tender and the liquid has absorbed. Set aside to cool

Now the turkey:

  • One whole Turkey (3.5kg feeds 6-8)
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 lemon
  • 5-10 fresh za'atar or thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup white wine or sparkling date juice
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp shawarma spice

  1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Wash and dry the turkey, removing any feathers. Lift up the skin that covers the neck opening, then push the stuffing up and under the skin, securing it tightly underneath with a skewer.
  2. Put a few pieces of onion and quartered lemon into the cavity, then tie the legs together with string.
  3. Put the remaining onions in a single layer in the tin, and cover with herb sprigs. Add the neck and all of the other giblets, except for the liver, to the tin, then sit the turkey on top.
  4. Coat the breast all over with butter. Pour the wine /juice into the tin, cover with foil, then roast according to timings (below). Keep checking the tin - if it looks a little dry, add a splash of water.
  5. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil. Brush the turkey again with butter, then scatter over and press in the salt and shawarma mix.
  6. Roast for the remaining cooking time, uncovered, until nicely coloured and cooked through. (Pierce thigh through its thickest part and the juices should run clear)
  7. Remove the turkey from the tin and leave to rest uncovered. (Don’t worry, it will stay hot)
Now make the gravy:

  • pan leftovers
  • 1 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • a splash of white wine (optional - water to deglaze the pan will work fine)
  • water or stock for thinning
  • redcurrant jelly (optional - this is just to give the gravy a kick)
  1. Drain most of the fat and juices from the tin into a jug, keeping the onions but discarding the neck and giblets. Spoon the fat from the juices best you can, retaining the juices.
  2. Place the tin on the hob, then pour in a splash of wine, scraping up the crusty bits with a wooden spoon or small firm spatula. Reduce until the wine has almost all disappeared. 
  3. Sprinkle a little seasoned flour and cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Add the juices to the tin, stirring quickly to dissolve flour, then adding a little water or chicken stock if it thickens too much.
  4. Boil down for a couple of minutes, still stirring, then stir in a big spoon of redcurrant jelly, and season to taste. Strain into a jug, and add any resting juices. If you've stuffed up and it's full of lumps, never fear - just whack it in the blender - nobody will know. 

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