Make this festive showstopper, pairing Finest turkey with sweet dates, lightly spiced pancetta and dark rye bread stuffing, which can be frozen for up to 3 months. Here's another helpful tip - stuff the turkey the day before, so it's ready to pop in the oven in the morning.
- For the stuffing, heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion for 10 minutes, until softened. Increase the heat to high and add the pancetta. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Tip the mixture into a bowl, leave to cool a little, then add the dates, breadcrumbs, sausage meat, apple and parsley. Using clean hands, mix until combined, then season well. Set aside until needed.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Using your fingers to loosen the skin over the meat at the neck end of the turkey, keeping the skin intact. Fill the pocket with the stuffing, tucking under any excess skin and securing it with a cocktail stick. If you can't fit all the stuffing under the skin, roll the remaining mixture into balls and set aside (add to the roasting tin for the final 45 minutes of cooking time). Transfer the bird to a roasting tin and put the lemon and bay leaves in the cavity. Rub the skin all over with the butter and season well.
- Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C and cook for a further 3-3 1⁄2 hours, basting occasionally with the juices from the pan. To test if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a knife – if the juices run clear, it's ready.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, then carefully lift the bird – tipping it gently so all the juices run back into the tin – and transfer to a serving plate ready for carving. Cover again with the foil and leave to rest for up to 2 hours. Reserve the meat juices in the roasting tin to make the Sherry and redcurrant gravy. Carve and serve with all the trimmings.
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