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Traditional roast turkey with herb and bacon stuffing

Serves: 6 – 10 (depending on turkey size)

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 3.5 – 4.5 hours (plus resting time)

Stuffing:

  • 7 rindless bacon rashers
  • 75g butter
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 250g Lilydale traditional sausages
  • 4 cups day old white sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • fresh bay leaves & thyme sprigs, to garnish

Method

  1. Remove turkey from refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Remove all racks from the oven, except bottom rack. Preheat oven to 1800C (fan forced).

  2. Remove neck from inside turkey. Pat turkey dry inside and out with paper towel.
  3. Finely chop 4 bacon rashers. Heat butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Add chopped bacon and onion and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl to cool slightly. Squeeze sausage meat from casings and add to bowl, along with breadcrumbs, herbs, pepper and egg. Use hands to mix well.
  4. Loosely fill turkey with about two- thirds of the stuffing (this will depend on size of the turkey). Do not overstuff, as stuffing will swell. Close rear cavity with metal skewers. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Bend wings back and tuck under turkey. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Cover completely with a foil tent. Place in the oven and roast. Using a meat thermometer, when the gauge reaches 820C (1800F) the turkey is cooked.
  5. Make stuffing balls with remaining stuffing (see recipe below).
  6. 40 minutes before the end of cooking time remove turkey from oven and remove foil. Cover ends of legs with foil to prevent burning. Brush turkey with half the maple syrup. Continue baking for 20 minutes, then brush with remaining maple syrup.
  7. If turkey appears to brown too quickly, loosely cover with foil. Test the turkey is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the thigh - between the thigh and breast. The juices should run clear. If the juices are pink, cover turkey with foil and continue to roast until cooked.
  8. Remove turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil for 20 minutes. Reserve pan juices to make gravy.
  9. Carve and serve with roast vegetables, gravy and spiced cranberry sauce.

Stuffing balls:

  1. Shape heaped tablespoonfuls of remaining stuffing into cork shapes.
  2. Wrap with a strip of bacon and a bay leaf and secure with a toothpick.
  3. Place in a small oven dish lined with non-stick paper and set aside.
  4. Place stuffing balls in the oven 30 minutes before the end of turkey cooking time.
  5. Remove them with the turkey and cover with foil to keep warm.
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