From Neven Maguire’s cookbook ‘Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas. ‘This is a really good recipe for the buttery fresh herb stuffing that everyone seems to love and I have been making it for years, ever since watching my mother Vera making it as a young child. If you prefer it can be cooked and served in a separate dish (rather than in the bird itself), which makes it more crispy and golden. However, I tend to use it to stuff the cavity and neck of the bird so that it soaks up all the delicious juices while cooking.’
MAKES ENOUGH TO STUFF 1 X 4.5–5.4KG (10–12LB) TURKEY
2 onions, finely chopped
500g fresh white breadcrumbs
25g fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, leaves finely chopped
15g fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only
15g fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a frying pan set over a low heat, then add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Tip into a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs and herbs, then season generously. Leave to cool completely.
2. Use the stuffing to three-quarters fill the cavity of the bird, then secure the flaps of skin over the cavity with a metal skewer. Use the rest of the stuffing to fill the crop of the neck end. Start at the neck end, where you’ll find a flap of loose skin. Gently loosen this away from the breast and you’ll be able to make a triangular pocket. Pack the stuffing inside as far as you can go and make a neat round shape on the outside, then tuck the neck flap underneath the bird and secure it with a small skewer. Cook as per the instructions for roasting the turkey (see Neven’s recipe showing his foolproof method to roast a Christmas turkey here).
Fruity Chestnut and Sage Stuffing
If you would like to ring in the changes, try adding 200g (7oz) of chopped canned or vacuum-packed chestnuts to the stuffing along with a couple handfuls of dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots. This version also benefits from the addition of a good tablespoon of chopped fresh sage and even a small packet of toasted pine nuts for a different texture.
WHERE TO BUY NEVEN MAGUIRE’S CHRISTMAS COOKBOOK
Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas is published by Gill Books.
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