Emma’s Christmas Turkey with Pear and Chestnut Stuffing
Did anyone see my go-to Christmas Feast recipes in Red Magazine? I was approached by the lovely team there to share what I like to feed my friends and family on the big day, and we recreated the dishes too. I think they look pretty incredible. If only I could have a food stylist on hand all the time…. Dear Father Christmas…
I’ve popped the recipe for my Christmas turkey and stuffing below. If you fancy making it too, please tag me in your photos as I’d love to see how it looks.
Regular basting, and a lot of liquid in the roasting tin, are the tricks you need to know for moist turkey. These simple instructions will ensure the meat is rich and flavourful. You’ll be fine.
Christmas Turkey with Pear and Chestnut Stuffing
Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus 1 hour for the turkey to warm up from the fridge) | Cook Time: 2-2.5 hours | Serves: 6
For the Christmas Turkey
- 1 fresh turkey, around 5kg, giblets and neck removed – I like to ask my butcher to do this for me. There’s no shame in avoiding the gory bits
- 200g butter
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 lemon
- 1 sprig each of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
For the Stuffing…
- 1 loaf of bread, around 600g, ideally a bloomer cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced into 2cm chunks
- 3 celery sticks, diced into 2cm chunks
- 180g chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 firm conference pears, peeled, cored and diced into 2cm chunks
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 750ml unsalted chicken or turkey stock
- 100g unsalted butter, diced
- Take the turkey out of the fridge for an hour before cooking. Rinse the inside of the bird and pat it dry, and season the skin and inside the cavity well with sea salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Start by making the stuffing, placing your bread cubes on two trays and baking for 15 minutes, rotating occasionally until just dried out. Let them cool and transfer to a large mixing bowl once ready.
- Pour the oil into a frying pan and cook the onions and celery for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Add the chestnuts, pears, garlic and dried herbs, stirring until golden for another five minutes. Season to taste. Add the vegetables to the bread cubes along with the stock and butter and place in a buttered dish. Cover and chill.
- Now for the turkey. Melt the butter and thyme together in a saucepan, simmering for a few minutes. Place the turkey in a large roasting tin and stuff the cavity with the onion, lemon and herbs. Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under the body.
- Brush the turkey with your butter mixture and season again.
- Add 500ml of water to the bottom of the pan. If it dries out early on, you may need to add more water. Place the turkey in the oven and baste with the liquid every 30 minutes, for around two hours, or until the juices run clear when you puncture the skin above the leg.
- Remove the turkey and tip the juices from its cavity into the roasting pan. Pour the liquid into a jug and wait for the fat to separate, reserving the juices for your gravy.
- Set your turkey aside on a board to rest for 30 minutes, loosely tented by foil.
- Turn the oven up to 225°C/gas mark 10 and cover the stuffing with foil before baking it for 20 minutes, removing the foil so that it browns for another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve alongside the turkey.
- Option to dress the plate the turkey is served on with baked pears – pop in the oven alongside your stuffing – and to add a few sprigs of sage, thyme and rosemary to the turkey’s cavity to bring the whole dish together.