The turkey crown is dry-brined and the legs are boned and filled with a chestnut, sage and orange stuffing – then roasted. Ideally, you should start to prepare the turkey two days before roasting.
Bronze Turkey Crown and Legs with Gravy and Stuffing
- 12 lb–14lb 5 oz (5.5–6.5kg) bronze turkey, including giblets
- 1-3/4 oz (50g) butter
For the dry brine:
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage, thyme or rosemary leaves (or a mixture of all three)
- zest of 2 large oranges
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing:
- 3-1/2 oz (100g) butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped sage
- zest of 1 orange
- 8-1/2 oz (240g) fresh breadcrumbs
- 3-1/2 oz (100g) vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 large egg
- splash of cream or full-fat milk (if needed)
For the roasting vegetables:
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 2 outer fennel leaves, roughly chopped
- a few sprigs of sage, rosemary or thyme (or all three)
- 1-3/4 oz (50g) butter, cut into cubes
For the gravy:
- 1 dessertspoon plain flour
- 1 large glass red wine
- juice of 2 oranges
- 18 fl oz (500ml) good-quality chicken stock
- 2 bunches of watercress, thick stalks removed
- Remove the bag of giblets from the turkey and keep in the refrigerator. Cut the legs away from the carcass, then remove the drumstick and the thigh bones, along with any large tendons in the drumstick meat. Remove the wing tips from the crown. All this sounds more complicated than it is, but if you prefer not to struggle with it, a friendly butcher will do this for you in 30 seconds. Place the leg meat and the bones in the refrigerator.
- Mix the dry brine ingredients together with 2 teaspoons of sea salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper, forming a paste. Carefully lift the skin away from the breasts at the cavity end and spread half the paste under the skin all over the breast – as far as you dare, as the skin can tear easily. Place the skin back into position, then massage the remaining paste over the crown and wing joints. Wrap the bird tightly in clingfilm, or a heavy plastic bag. Keep in the refrigerator to dry brine for 24–36 hours.
- Next, prepare the giblets: rinse the liver and heart, and trim away the sinew or pipes. Chop roughly and leave in a cool place. Rinse the neck and gizzard, and leave with the reserved bones and wing tips.
- To make the stuffing, heat the butter in a small pan until sizzling and add the chopped onion. Cook over a medium heat until soft but not coloured. Add the sage, orange zest, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and allow to cool. In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and chestnuts with the chopped raw liver and heart and the cooled onion mix. Lightly whisk the egg and stir into the breadcrumb mixture. It should not be at all wet, but it should hold itself together loosely. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of cream or milk.
- Place the turkey legs (without the bones) on a chopping board, skin-side down, and season well with salt and pepper. Divide the stuffing mix in half and spread out along the centre of each leg. Fold the meat over the stuffing and gently shape each leg into a sausage shape by hand. Using butcher’s twine or thin string, tie the filled legs neatly but firmly. Roll each one neatly in a double layer of clingfilm, tying the 4 ends in a firm knot, like a Christmas cracker. Leave them in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- To roast the crown, preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan), 375°F, Gas mark 5. Place the roasting vegetables and herbs in a large roasting tin with the leg bones, wing tips, neck and gizzard, then dot with the butter. Unwrap the turkey crown and place on top of the vegetables. Roast for 1½ hours, then reduce the temperature to 180°C (160°C fan), 350°F, Gas mark 4. Continue to cook until the juices run clear when a skewer or small knife pierces the thickest part of the breast close to the wing bone – about a further 30–40 minutes. Remove the crown to a warm serving dish and cover it tightly with foil, topped with a clean tea towel. Leave to rest for up to 30 minutes.
- While the crown is roasting, place the prepared legs (still wrapped in clingfilm) in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 35–45 minutes, or until a small knife goes into the leg easily. Drain the water away and allow the legs to cool a little before placing them on a chopping board. Carefully remove the clingfilm and check that the twine is still firmly in place. Re-tie if necessary.
- Next, roast the turkey legs. Heat the 50g (1¾oz) butter in a small ovenproof pan until sizzling. Place the legs into the butter, seam-side up, and sear them over a medium heat, turning the meat over and around in the hot butter until the skin becomes golden brown all over. Place the pan in the oven (with the turkey crown still at 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas mark 4) and roast the legs for 15–20 minutes, or until a small knife pierces the meat very easily and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and cover the pan tightly with foil.
- While the legs and crown are resting, make the gravy. Drain away the excess fat from the roasting pan, place the pan (including the vegetables) over a medium heat on the hob and add the flour, stirring continuously. Slowly add the red wine, orange juice and stock, and bring gently to the boil as it thickens. Simmer for 3–4 minutes, pour through a sieve into a small pan, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Leave over a low heat until ready to serve, skimming occasionally if needed.
- To serve, carefully remove the twine from the turkey legs and slice across in thick slices, then arrange around the crown with watercress leaves to garnish. Serve the hot gravy separately.