You will need:
- 2 sweet potatoes
- Sea salt
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 large handfuls of brown mushrooms
- 1 slice brown bread
- 1 tbsp sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- A pinch of nutmeg (for the meat and stuffing)
- Cracked black pepper
- 600g skinless turkey breast
- 4 tbsp pumpkin, mashed or canned
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp pecan nuts, chopped
- Deep frying pan
- Roasting tin
- Butcher's twine
- Greaseproof paper
- Aluminium foil
- Food processor
Not the usual up-with-Santa routine to get a huge fowl roasting. Kick off a civilised hour and 20 minutes before lunch by pre-heating the oven to 175°C.
Scrub the sweet spuds under cold water then prick them with a fork. Sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture. Wrap them in aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes, during which you take a quick break for a well-earned festive drink.
Peel and finely chop an onion along with the washed celery. Dollop a tablespoon of olive oil into a deep, thick-bottomed frying pan over a medium heat, then add the chopped onion, celery and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Sauté for four minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.
Finely chop the mushrooms, add another tablespoon of olive oil, then throw them in. Fry for another four minutes until the mushrooms release their juices and the onions are a lovely caramel brown colour. While the mushrooms are frying, chop the bread into small cubes. Then add the bread, chopped herbs, nutmeg and a dash of cracked black pepper and fry for another minute before removing your stuffing from the heat.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and then turn the heat up to 200°C.
Lay the skinless turkey breast on a plastic cutting board, then use a sharp knife to "butterfly" it. To do this, make a horizontal cut all the way along the breast, parallel with the work surface. Start at the thinner side of the breast and carefully cut through the middle, almost, but not quite, to the other side. Open the two sections like a book and lay the meat flat on the chopping board. Then place three, foot-long stands of butcher's twine underneath, then cover the meat with stuffing and pat it down for even thickness.
Starting at the thinner end of the breast, roll the meat and stuffing up. Tie the butcher's twine using your best Scout skills to keep the breast tightly rolled up and the stuffing secure. Push back any stuffing that has fallen out.
Cut a piece of greaseproof paper long enough to wrap around your roasting tin. Soak it in water then wring it out. Lay the turkey breast in the roasting tin and wrap the damp paper round it. Bung it in the oven for 20 minutes.
After your stuffed turkey breast has been roasting for 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 175°C, remove the greaseproof paper and stick the tray back in for another 20 minutes.
With only 15 minutes to go, remove the foil from the sweet potatoes and then slice them lengthwise, scooping out the centres into a bowl. Don't bin the skins; you'll need these later.
Blitz the potatoes with a food processor and add the mashed or tinned pumpkin and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth orange mash. Carefully spin the mixture back into the saved skins, topping them with the chopped pecans. Return them to the oven to bake with the turkey breast for the final 10 minutes (cue second well-earned beverage). Finally, remove the lot from the oven and cover with tin foil until you're ready to serve.
Parsnips Peel and wash three medium-sized parsnips and lightly coat them with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt before adding to the roasting tin when the stuffed turkey goes back in for it's second 20 minutes.
Green beans Trim the tops and tails off two big handfuls of green beans and cook in three big glugs of white wine over a medium heat for 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, toss in one tablespoon of chopped fresh chives and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Carrots Peel six carrots, cut into batons and chuck them into a pan with a glug of both water and orange juice. Add 1/2 tablespoon of grated ginger and orange zest. Steam them for 10 minutes. Keeping the lid on tight, shake the pan a few times along the way.
You will need:
- 1 large onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp flour
- 250 millilitres chicken stock
While the stuffed turkey breast is roasting for the first 20 minutes, finely slice the onions and fry them in olive oil over a medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and stir often for 15 minutes. This slow cooking releases the onion's natural sugar.
Add the balsamic and stir for another two minutes. Stir in the flour, then whisk in the chicken stock until the mixture has a thick consistency.
If you're a lump-free gravy fan, blitz it in the food processor. Leave the gravy in the pan until you're ready to eat so you can quickly re-heat it just before serving. If it's too thick, just add a little water.