Christmas with all the trimmings: Roast turkey with stuffing and sweet potato puree (top right) and asparagus with almonds. Photo: William Meppem
It's traditional, sure, but there's a simple reason why turkey with all the trimmings is such a hit at Christmas - it's so utterly delicious!
ROAST TURKEY WITH STUFFING
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 small brown onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
50g spinach, trimmed
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
180g raisins, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and drained
200g unsalted butter, finely diced
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
7.6kg whole turkey (medium to large)
mustard fruits, to serve
Serves 10-12, with leftovers
Preheat oven to 200°C.
To make stuffing, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Blanch spinach in boiling salted water until just wilted, then drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze excess water from spinach. Chop coarsely.
Combine onion mixture with spinach, breadcrumbs, herbs, raisins and butter in a medium bowl. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Insert stuffing under skin of turkey on breasts and legs, until it's firmly packed in.
Rub skin with plenty of olive oil and season turkey inside and out.
Place turkey in a large baking tray and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 150°C and cook turkey for 4-5 hours or until cooked. (The best way to ensure turkey is cooked through is with a meat thermometer. If bird is large, add 20-30 minutes of oven time for every 500g over 7.6kg. When cooked, the internal temperature of breast should be 74°C and the legs 80°C.)
Reduce oven temperature to 50°C, cover turkey with foil and allow it to rest in oven for about 20 minutes.
Remove drumsticks, thighs and wings at second joint. Slice breasts into 1-2cm-thick slices, being careful not to rip skin. Serve on a platter with mustard fruits on the side.
BOILED CORN WITH BUTTER AND CHILLI
4 cobs corn, cut into 4cm lengths
50g butter, diced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp chipotle chilli powder
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add enough salt so it tastes like sea water. Boil corn for 6-8 minutes or until cooked and drain.
In a small bowl, season butter with sea salt and pepper. Toss though corn, sprinkle with chilli powder, and serve.
ASPARAGUS, ALMONDS AND BURNT BUTTER
500g green asparagus, trimmed
40g roasted almonds, lightly crushed
½ lemon, juiced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add enough salt so it tastes like sea water.
Blanch asparagus for 7-8 minutes or until tender, then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat until it begins to turn nut-brown. Add asparagus, almonds and lemon juice to butter and toss well.
Season with a pinch of salt and ground pepper and serve.
SWEET POTATO PUREE
600g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-3cm dice
3½ tsp sea salt
75g unsalted butter
1 knob ginger, finely chopped
½ brown onion, finely diced
freshly ground pepper
Place sweet potatoes in a saucepan and add enough cold water to almost cover. Add 2 tsp sea salt and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Set aside.
Meanwhile, dice 50g of butter and place in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add ginger, onion and remaining salt and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onion is very soft. Add sweet potato and cook for a further 2 minutes. Purée mixture in a food processor or blender.
Finely dice remaining butter and stir it into purée until melted. Season to taste with pepper. Spoon into a bowl, and serve.
CHRISTMAS FRUIT WITH SAUTERNES CREAM
300g of fresh cherries, pitted
1 punnet of raspberries, washed
2 white peaches, peeled, stone removed and cut into wedges
2 white nectarines, peeled, stone removed and cut into wedges
1 mango, peeled, and cut into thin cheeks
50g caster sugar
for sauternes cream
200g quality sauternes or other dessert wine
40g freshly squeezed orange juice
peel of 1 orange
125g caster sugar
400g cream (35 per cent variety)
In a bowl, mix the fruit, sprinkle with 50g caster sugar, then macerate for an hour.
For sauternes cream, combine wine, orange juice and peel in a container. Cover and set aside for 1 hour to infuse.
Strain and discard peel. Add 125g caster sugar to wine mixture and stir to dissolve. Add cream and whisk to soft peaks.
Spoon the fruit into bowls, top with sauternes cream, and serve immediately.
* Placing the turkey stuffing under the skin helps keep the meat moist.
* The sweetness of the potato and corn work perfectly with the meat, mustard fruits and asparagus - and they are all in season and at their best. Feel free to add cranberry sauce for a more traditional feel.
* I love this simple fruit dessert for Christmas. It's all about what is best in December, when we are blessed with an abundance of sweet and delicious summer fruits.
* Use a quality wine for the sauternes cream. If you're using an Australian sweet wine, something like De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon will give a great result.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
2011 Farr Rising Pinot Noir, Geelong, Vic
Second-generation wine maker Nick Farr has produced an outstanding 2011 Geelong Pinot Noir ($42). The wine is soft and supple, with bright red cranberry and cherry fruit, crunchy acidity and hints of soft green herbs - all of which make it a fantastic match for the turkey.
Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins.