Ruth now writes the en­ter­tain­ment pages for NZ Life and Leisure.

Bast­ing the bird with cream keeps the flesh moist and adds tremen­dous flavour to the pan juices, which form the base for the gravy. You can stuff the turkey up to two days ahead as the stuff­ing does not con­tain egg.

1 loaf sourdough bread (about 600g), crusts re­moved 12 cloves roasted gar­lic (recipe fol­lows) 6 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 1 sprig rose­mary, leaves coarsely chopped 3.5kg turkey, washed and dried olive oil for greas­ing roast­ing tray 1 cup cream 1 cup well-flavoured chicken stock 1 ta­ble­spoon bal­samic vine­gar (op­tional)

Cut the loaf into 12-16 chunky pieces and place in a large bowl.

Place the roasted gar­lic in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the oil and rose­mary and com­bine.

Lib­er­ally brush the in­side cav­i­ties of the turkey with the roasted gar­lic oil. Pour the re­main­der over the sourdough bread and toss to com­bine well. Sea­son the stuff­ing gen­er­ously with salt and freshly ground black pep­per then stuff the body and neck cav­i­ties of the turkey. If there is ex­cess stuff­ing wrap it in foil and heat it along­side the turkey.

Pre­heat the oven to 180°C. Fold the wing tips on to the back of the turkey and se­cure the legs with twine. Lightly grease a large roast­ing dish with olive oil. Brush the turkey with some of the cream and place in the oven. After 30 min­utes brush again with cream.

Re­duce the oven to 160°C and roast for a fur­ther 1½-2 hours, brush­ing with cream and bast­ing with pan juices every 30 min­utes, un­til the juices run clear.

Trans­fer the turkey to an­other warmed roast­ing dish (re­serv­ing the used dish and juices) and leave to rest cov­ered in tin­foil for at least 20 min­utes and up to 40 min­utes.

To make a jus, place the re­served roast­ing dish over a medium heat and pour in the stock. Stir to com­bine, scrap­ing the caramelised bits off the pan. Bring to the boil and sim­mer to re­duce by one third. Sea­son the jus with salt and pep­per. If not gutsy enough in flavour (de­pend­ing on your stock), add bal­samic vine­gar and bring back to the boil.

Carve the turkey and place on serv­ing plates or a plat­ter ac­com­pa­nied with the stuff­ing and a jug of the jus.


Boil­ing gar­lic be­fore roast­ing dis­pels any bit­ter­ness. Gar­lic can be as much as 10 months old be­fore spring and as it ages it can be­come bit­ter.

3 bulbs of gar­lic olive oil thyme leaves

Pre­heat the oven to 180°C. Trim the top ¼ off the gar­lic bulbs with scis­sors to ex­pose the cloves then place in a saucepan of boil­ing water and boil for 10 min­utes. Drain, dis­card­ing the loose skin, and punc­ture the sides and top with a fork. Place in a small ce­ramic dish, driz­zle gen­er­ously with oil then sprin­kle with thyme, salt and pep­per. Roast for 40 min­utes or un­til the cloves start to pop out of the skin. Cool.

When ready to use, squeeze the soft gar­lic out of its skin.

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