Constance inspiration

Robbie Howard's turkeys.
Robbie Howard's turkeys. Photo: Alan Howard

Turkeys, when young enough, are called poults. In my chookyard I have two handsome poults. I've had them for a year now and unfortunately have become attached to them.

They are pale grey and live with their parents in the yard.

They escaped the hawks, which was the fate of their other siblings, and they escaped the ''turkey muncher'' - one of my dogs, which would stand outside the yard and wait for the baby chicks to travel outside the netting.

Now I have a husband who wants to know what I am going to do with these poults, and Christmas is coming.

I don't think I can bring myself to eat these birds, but I took Constance Spry off the shelf for turkey recipe ideas.

Spry advises, in her practical manner, that they should have smooth black legs if they are to be tender for roasting.

She also advises that freshly killed turkeys should have bright full eyes and white flesh and the cartilage at the end of the breastbone should be pliable.

Home-killed birds should be hung for three to four days in mild weather.

Today's recipe is for apple and prune turkey stuffing.


Turkey breast with prune and apple stuffing 

The recipe is for the turkey breast only, so you don't need to buy the whole bird.

1 x 1.5kg boneless turkey breast, skin on

2 tbsp melted butter 


340g fresh breadcrumbs

24-30 prunes, steamed, stoned and split in two

4 large apples, cored and roughly chopped

150g walnut kernels, toasted and rubbed with a tea towel to remove the skins

salt and freshly ground pepper, to season

grated rind and juice of a lemon

2 eggs, beaten

150g butter, melted

For the stuffing, mix the dry ingredients and fruit together, then add the seasoning, and the lemon rind and juice. Bind together with the eggs and melted butter.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Put the turkey skin side down, on a board. Flatten with your hands, and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the stuffing down the middle of the breast, then roll up to enclose the stuffing. Tie the turkey with kitchen string every two centimetres to secure, then place in a large roasting pan.

Brush the entire surface of the turkey with melted butter. Roast for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted.

Cover the breast with foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Stuffing recipe adapted from The Constance Spry Cookery Book, by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume (Dent, 1956).

Robbie Howard is co-owner of Lynwood Preserves.