Bacon topped turkey with apricot, almond and lemon zest stuffing
If you’d like to try cooking your turkey on the Weber, follow this recipe instead.
For the turkey
6 onions, sliced into thick chunks
1 turkey, approx. 4 kg
Handful thyme leaves
500ml ginger beer, cider or beer
Salt and pepper
8–12 slices prosciutto or parma ham
Fresh herbs, to serve
For the stuffing
100g dried apricots
100g blanched almonds
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 cups of rough breadcrumbs
For the salsa:
2 avocados, peeled and finely chopped
1 papaya, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 3 limes
1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped – add to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds (white or black)
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 bunch mint, roughly chopped
1. To make your stuffing, roughly chop your apricots and mix together with blanched almonds, zest and juice of the 2 lemons and your rough breadcrumbs. If you have a gluten intolerance, you could use half the indicated amount of uncooked quinoa, since it will swell inside the turkey and has a similarly grainy texture.
2. Add your eggs and a splash of milk to bring together your stuffing mixture.
3. Season well before stuffing your bird.
4. To make the salsa, mix all the salsa ingredients together and season to taste. Leave in the fridge, covered, whilst you start cooking the turkey.
5. To prepare the bird, remove from packaging, rinse under water and pat dry with paper towel. Spread the thickly sliced onions over one of the disposable trays and place the bird on top. Loosen the skin over the breast with your fingers, stuff the butter under the skin and tuck in a few thyme leaves.
6. Season the inside with salt and pepper, then fill your turkey with your apricot almond stuffing.
7. Once stuffed, tie the ends of the drumsticks together. Pour the cider over the bird and season the outside of the bird.
8. Cover the breast of the turkey with parma ham or prosciutto. This helps to regulate the cooking of the different parts of the turkey, and adds a bit of fat to what is a leaner area of the bird.
9. Cover the bird with tinfoil and secure the edges tightly to the tray (a Weber specific tray if you’re cooking it on the braai) or a regular oven tray. At this point, you can leave the bird in the fridge overnight if you wish to cook it the following day.
10. For cooking, set the oven to 200°C and allow to reach temperature. When you insert the bird the oven temp will drop dramatically. Wait for it to regain the temperature, then turn it down to 160°C. You want it at around 150-160°C for the cooking duration, so an oven thermometer might be a good idea.
11. Place the turkey (with foil still on) in the oven and cook for an initial period of around 2 hours (depending on the weight of the bird).
TIP: The full cooking time will vary between 2.5-3.5 hours. A 3.8kg stuffed bird takes about 3 hours at 150 -160ºC. Remember, cooking a bird with stuffing will increase cooking time slightly, but most turkeys will have guidelines on the packaging, or ask your butcher what he recommends.
12. Remove the turkey from the oven and take off the foil hood. Now baste the bird with your cooking juices and then re-insert into oven to cook for another hour (basting every 20-30 minutes for extra crispy skin).
When your turkey is done (you’ll know because the juices will run clear – not pink – when you tip the tray gently to one side), remove from the oven and allow to rest loosely tented with foil for 20 minutes.
Once the turkey is done resting, carve it up and serve with all your sides.
Here’s to a traditional Christmas feast.