Greek Turkey with Chestnut, Raisin and Pinenut Stuffing

Posted On December 16, 2006

Filed under Hellenic Food

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Thinking of doing something a bit different which the traditionalists in the family will still enjoy? This is how the Greeks prepare their festive fowl.

Ingredients >
4.5 kilo oven ready turkey
Olive oil
For the Stuffing >
225 grams chestnuts
45 ml olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
Turkey giblets except for the neck
350 grams minced pork
150 grams long-grain rice
300 ml water
75 grams raisins or currants,
50 grams pinenuts or blanched shredded almonds
45 ml finely chopped fresh parsley
10 ml dried sage or thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method >
Remove the giblets from the turkey and rinse them. Chop finely for the stuffing.
Rinse and dry the turkey and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub thoroughly with the cut lemon and squeeze the juice into the cavity. Set aside in a cool place (not the fridge) while preparing the stuffing.
Cut a small slit in the pointed end of each chestnut, put them in a pan with cold water to cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, peel and roughly chop the nuts.
Heat the oil in a medium sized pan and gently fry the onion until soft but not coloured. Add the giblets and cook, stirring, until they change colour. Add the minced pork and stir until crumbly. Add the rice and water and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the water is absorbed and the rice is half cooked. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and gently mix in the raisins or currants, nuts, parsley and seasonings and the chestnuts. Leave to cool.
Heat the oven to 180 C degrees. Stuff the neck cavity of the turkey loosely with the above stuffing. If there is any over, put it in a separate covered dish and cook it in the bottom of the oven. Put the bird breast up in a roasting pan and pour 150 ml hot water into the pan. Brush the bird all over with olive oil and cover loosely with oiled foil. Roast for about 3 hours. Remove the foil, baste the bird with pan drippings and roast for another 30 minutes, until the turkey is golden brown. If the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, the bird is cooked through. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before transferring carefully to a warmed serving platter. The pan juices should be skimmed of fat before serving separately. They can be sharpened slightly with the addition of some lemon juice before serving.