Roast Turkey with a Forest Mushroom and Bacon Stuffing

, from Issue #15. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Roast Turkey with a Forest Mushroom and Bacon Stuffing

Crisp, browned skin and moist, succulent meat is paired with a rich, fragrant stuffing that will make this the highlight of your Christmas day feast.

Serves: 8


5 kilogram turkey
4 whole heads of garlic
16 shallots or pickling onions, skin left on

40 grams dried mixed forest mushrooms
150 grams button mushrooms, roughly chopped
150 grams Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
knob of butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
150 grams streaky bacon, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons each finely chopped sage and rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
200 grams pork mince

pan juices from cooking turkey
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup red or white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly


Stuffing: Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and finely chop. Put the button and Portobello mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Take care not to over process or they will become mushy.

Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onions, bacon and garlic, cover and cook until very tender, stirring occasionally. Add all the mushrooms and herbs, season and stir. Increase the heat to medium and tip in the reserved soaking water. Cook about 30 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick. Stir to prevent it catching on the base of the pan. Remove from the heat and cool. Beat in the breadcrumbs and the pork.

Turkey: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the neck and the packet of giblets which may be stuffed into the neck cavity. Rinse the turkey and dry well with kitchen towels. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the breast and drumsticks, taking care not to break the skin. Push the stuffing under the skin, smoothing it into an even layer. Season the cavity of the turkey and fill with lemon quarters, extra herbs and a halved onion. Truss the legs with kitchen string and tuck the wings under, securing the neck skin. Brush with oil and season. Place in a lightly greased baking dish, breast side up and loosely tent the turkey with oiled tin foil. Add ½ a cup of water and the whole bulbs of garlic and shallots. Roast for 2¾ hours or until the juices run clear from the thigh when pierced with a skewer. A meat thermometer should read 80°C when inserted into the thigh. Leave to rest, lightly covered, for 20 minutes. Take the garlic and onions out of the pan when cooked and keep warm.

Gravy: Skim off any excess fat from the pan and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste (roux). Cook for 1 minute then whisk in the stock, wine, mustard and redcurrant jelly. Season and simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced and glossy. Strain into a warmed gravy boat.

To serve: Place the turkey on a serving platter and surround with the roasted garlic and onions. Garnish with watercress. 

Forest mushrooms can be substituted with 20 grams dried porcini mushrooms soaked in the same way.

Menu: Serve with Fresh Nectarine and Prosciutto Salad with Mozzarella and Prawns, sides of Potatoes, Kumara and Carrots Roasted in Herb and Garlic Butter with Sour Cream Dressing, and Green Bean and Asparagus Salad.