I’ve never imagined that cooking a roasted turkey would be such a great pleasure. Now I understand why most of the cooking books, especially those of the past times when people had more time to spend in the kitchen, are full of stuffed and roasted poultry or game: for the fun of the cook maybe more than for the appetite of the diners!
Gently massaging the poultry skin with a mince of freshly chopped aromatic herbs, oil and salt and then letting the beast rest in the fridge to marinate for some time. Hand mixing the filling of sausages, apples, dried prunes and walnuts until smooth and then stuffing it inside the turkey. Sewing the holes with care and patience to preserve the juices of the stuffing. Layering the bacon on top of the turkey paying attention to overlap each slice to cover all the surface and at the same time to create a nice looking pattern. And then looking after your creature slowly roasting in the oven for about three hours, checking from time to time, wishing to obtain a juicy meat inside and a perfectly crunchy skin outside.
And eventually the moment when you present it on the table holding the heating pan in your hands, a big smile on your face. What a great feast!
The showing of part is quite important, I would say, because then there is the cutting part which is far less romantic, unless you are a skilled butcher! Better doing it in the kitchen, where you will prepare the plates with a slice of turkey breast wet with some meat juices remained the pan, a slice of crunchy covering bacon and a scoop of stuffing. To season all, soma sauce made blending the vegetables (carrots and onions) you have let roasting in the pan with your turkey.
To accompany the dish, you can prepare a classic smash potatoes purée or a a simple salad of roasted Brussels sprouts which you have baked in the oven jointly with the small turkey.
For your Christmas lunch, for Easter, for your Thanksgiving or for any other special occasion, here my recipe of a roasted small turkey stuffed with sausage, apples, dried prunes and walnuts (in Italian “tacchinella arrosto ripiena” in Genoese dialect “bibinna pinna“) ! Have a lot of fun in the making and take your time to appreciate it.
- A small turkey of approx. 2,5 kg
- 120 g of sliced bacon
For the stuffing
- 200 g of sausage
- 100 g of breadcrumbs
- 1 medium egg
- 50 g of walnuts kernels
- 100 g of prunes
- 2 apples
- salt and pepper
For the mince of herbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 5 sage leaves
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 5-6 sprigs of thyme
- 2 large pinches of salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
For the accompanying sauce
- 5 carrots
- 2 medium onions
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ glass (100 ml) of brandy
- ½ glass (100 ml) of water
To prepare the turkey
- Prepare the minced herbs, mincing the garlic (peeled and deprived of the soul) and all the aromatic herbs. Add oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Put half of the mince inside the small turkey, distributing it well on the internal walls; massage the outer surface with the remaining mince.
- Place the small turkey in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap for at least an hour (but if you have time also overnight).
For the filling
- Chop the sausage in a bowl after removing the skin. Cut the bread into cubes and sprinkle it with water, then squeeze it well and add it to the sausage by crumbling it. Add the boned and finely chopped prunes. Peel the apples, cut them into small pieces and combine with the filling. Coarsely chop the walnut kernels and combine them too. Add the egg. Knead by hand to obtain a homogeneous and compact mixture. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
To stuff the small turkey
- Insert all the filling into the small turkey, pressing it all the way down so as to fill each cavity. In order not to let it come out, I suggest you to close the ends with a needle and thread or with two toothpicks. Cover the small turkey with the slices of bacon overlapping them slightly.
For the accompanying sauce
- Clean and chop coarsely carrots and onions. Put them in a bowl also adding the garlic cloves after having crushed them by hand. Season with extra virgin olive oil, pepper, salt and thyme.
For baking the turkey
- Grease the pan with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and place the small turkey in the center. Spread the vegetables for the sauce all around. Sprinkle with brandy and water. Cook the turkey in a static oven preheated to 190°C for 20 minutes, in this way you will get a nice surface crust. After that, lower the temperature to 140°C and continue cooking for 2,5 hours: the core temperature must be 72 °.
To make the sauce and serve
- Remove all vegetables except garlic and any twigs.
- Blend the vegetables with an immersion blender, and then sieve them to obtain the accompanying sauce. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
- Serve the small turkey hot with the accompanying sauce.
If you are looking for more ideas for Christmas or for a big dinner with friends Italian Riviera style, you can have a look at my traditional Christmas menu.
For some traditional Genoa sweets to prepare in big occasions, here the recipe for the Genoese pandolce and for Italian Riviera classical pastries called Gobeletti.
And for better understanding Genoese traditions and how we used to decorate our table and home for Christmas, here my post on Genoa Christmas traditions and two floral video tutorials.
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