Roast turkey with sour-cherry stuffing and pickled cherries


  • Serves 8 - 10 people

We've included dried sour cherries in the stuffing here and served the turkey with a piquant cherry pickle for a double-whammy. The stuffing and pickled cherries can be made ahead to make things that much easier on Christmas Day. Try serving it with a simple herby farro salad dressed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette to keep things interesting. Start this recipe two days ahead to make the pickle.

  • 1 turkey (about 7kg), at room temperature
  • 100 gm softened butter
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • To taste: lemon juice
  • Pickled cherries
  • 200 ml sherry vinegar
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • ¼ Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 orange, thinly peeled rind of ½
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 450 gm pitted cherries (about 480gm unpitted)
  • Sour-cherry stuffing
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250 gm coarse light rye breadcrumbs
  • 80 gm dried sour cherries
  • 50 gm roasted pine nuts
  • Juice and finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
01   For pickled cherries, stir ingredients except cherries and 100ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add cherries, bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium and simmer until cherries are just tender (6-8 minutes). Transfer to a sterile jar and refrigerate for at least 2 days before using. Pickled cherries will keep refrigerated for up to a month.
02   For sour-cherry stuffing, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then sauté onion and garlic until tender and translucent (4-5 minutes), then tip into a bowl to cool. Stir in remaining ingredients and season to taste.
03   Preheat oven to 190C. Fill turkey cavity with stuffing, truss legs, then rub bird all over with butter and season well. Place breast-side up in a large roasting pan, add stock to pan and roast, basting occasionally with pan juices, until golden brown and juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer or internal temperature reaches 74C on a meat thermometer when tested in thigh and breast (2¾-3 hours; cover with foil if turkey browns too quickly). Remove from pan, cover loosely with foil and rest for 30 minutes.
04   Meanwhile, simmer pan juices over medium-high heat until reduced to a thick sauce consistency (10-12 minutes), squeeze in a little lemon juice and season to taste. Serve with roast turkey and pickled cherries.
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