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James St Cookery School: Christmas dinner sorted – traditional turkey and stuffing

Roast turkey – chef Niall's top tip for Christmas dinner is to know your bird's weight and plan your other dishes around its cooking time
Roast turkey – chef Niall's top tip for Christmas dinner is to know your bird's weight and plan your other dishes around its cooking time Roast turkey – chef Niall's top tip for Christmas dinner is to know your bird's weight and plan your other dishes around its cooking time

IT'LL be Christmas dinner time before you know it so this week’s recipes focus on the star of the show – traditional turkey and stuffing.

For some people, preparing the feast can be a big undertaking but there’s plenty you can do in advance to help take the pressure off.

Nothing beats the taste of homemade stuffing and my recipe can be made this weekend and kept for Friday.

My top tip for Christmas dinner is to know your timings – make sure you check your turkey weight and plan your other dishes around its cooking time to keep everything on schedule.

With a little forward planning and preparation, you can serve up a show-stopping meal without the stress.

From my family to yours, we wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas.

SAGE AND ONION STUFFING WITH APRICOT

(Serves 6)

4 onions, diced fine

10 fresh sage leaves

50g butter

250g breadcrumbs

250g sausage meat (optional)

250g apricots

100ml milk

2 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper

Method:

Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry in a pan with butter on a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until soft. Add in the sausage meat and cook for 10 minutes until thoroughly cooked all the way through. Next, add in the breadcrumbs, apricots and milk. Add in the sage and season with salt and pepper.

Set the stuffing mixture on to a sheet of parchment laid out on top of tinfoil, then roll the mixture into a sausage shape and twist the ends – it’ll look like a Christmas cracker (6 inches long by 4 inches wide). When ready to cook, place on a greased tray and put in oven at 180C for 30 minutes. Simply slice and serve alongside your Christmas day roast.

CLASSIC TURKEY

(Serves 6)

4kg Turkey

1 onion

2 sprig thyme

2 sprig sage

1 bulb garlic

8 rashers bacon

Salt and pepper

Method:

Place the turkey in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper. Cut the onion and the garlic in half and insert into the cavity with the thyme and sage. Cook the turkey in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 180C. Lay the rashers of bacon on top of the turkey and roast for two hours, basting with the juices occasionally. Check that the turkey is cooked by inserting a knife between the leg and breast – the juice should run clear. Once cooked, remove the turkey from the oven, cover in tinfoil and let rest for 30 minutes.

More at cookinbelfast.co.uk