When it comes to creating down-to-earth, home kitchen-friendly recipes, there is no chef to beat the delightfully approachable Neven Maguire. His latest book, Neven’s Real Food for Families, should be on every Christmas list this year, whether as a gift or for yourself.
As well as a good range of everyday and family recipes, there are lots of ideas for special occasions, including Christmas. This time Neven suggests using turkey crown instead of the whole bird and he recommends using a free-range or organic bird for this special day.
What you need
4½ kg (10lb) prepared turkey crown
75g (3oz) butter, at room temperature
1 garlic clove, crushed
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
4 rindless smoked bacon rashers
FOR THE STUFFING
75g (3oz) butter
1 onion, diced
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
50g (2oz) toasted pine nuts
175g (6oz) white breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE GRAVY
1 tsp plain flour
300ml (½ pint) chicken or turkey stock
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F/gas 5. To make the stuffing, heat a frying pan and add the butter. Add the onion and sage and cook for a few minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the pine nuts, then stir in the breadcrumbs, mixing well to combine. Season to taste. Wrap the stuffing in buttered tin foil and mould into a large sausage shape. This can be cooked in the oven for 25--30 minutes.
2 Next, prepare the turkey crown. Cream the butter in a bowl until very soft, then add the crushed garlic, orange rind, parsley and thyme. Beat well, until thoroughly blended. Gently loosen the neck flap away from the breast and pack the flavoured butter right under the skin -- this is best done wearing disposable gloves. Rub well into the flesh of the turkey, then re-cover the skin and secure with a small skewer or sew with fine twine. Finally, cover the top of the crown with the rashers.
3 Place the turkey crown in the oven and calculate your time -- 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes, so a joint this size should take three hours and 40 minutes. Cover loosely with foil, which should be removed about 40 minutes before the end of the cooking time. The turkey crown will cook much more quickly than a whole turkey, so make sure to keep basting.
To check if the turkey is cooked, pierce a fine skewer into the chest part of the crown, the juice should run clear. When cooked, cover with foil to rest and keep warm.
4 Skim all the fat from the cooking juices, then pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the juices from the roasting tin. Stir the flour into the pan residue and cook, stirring over a low heat, until golden. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring. Bring to the boil and let bubble for two to three minutes, until thickened. Season to taste and keep warm.
5 To serve: carve the turkey crown into slices and arrange on warmed plates with the cooked stuffing, glazed loin of bacon (see below) and vegetables -- Brussels sprouts, red onion and bacon crumble, white and sweet potato gratin and roasted carrots with garlic and parsley are all given in Maquire's book. Pour the gravy into a warmed gravy jug and hand around separately.