Roasted turkey with pan-fried shallots, herbs and pancetta

Special to The Globe and Mail

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  • Servings: 8

10 lb (4.5 kg) young turkey

1 1/2 lb (750 g) pancetta, diced

1/4 cup (50 mL) butter

8 large shallots, sliced lengthwise

Several fresh sprigs each thyme, rosemary and sage, chopped

1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar

3 tbsp (50 mL) sherry vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

Several whole sprigs of herbs for stuffing cavity and garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, sauté pancetta about 4 minutes or until fat begins to render. Remove pancetta and set aside. Add butter, shallots and chopped herbs; sauté over medium heat about 4 minutes or until shallots are translucent. Sprinkle with sugar; sauté an additional 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in vinegar and remove from heat. Add pancetta. Season with freshly ground pepper. Set aside to cool.

Remove any pockets of fat from bird cavity. Run your hands gently under skin and separate skin from meat slightly without tearing. Gently slide some of the shallot mixture between skin and meat on breast and legs. Repeat with fresh herb sprigs. Rub bird with butter and season with salt and pepper. Fill cavity with remaining shallot mixture. Truss legs together to maintain shape while roasting. Roast turkey in a large, lightly oiled roasting pan in lower portion of oven for first 1/2 hour. Turn turkey on its side for the next 1/2 hour, basting frequently. Turn bird onto opposite side for next 1/2 hour. Turn turkey breast side up and roast until juices run clear and skin is browned and crispy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Baste frequently during roasting time.

Per 4 oz serving: Cal 581 / Pro 38 g / Fat 43 g / Carb 8 g

Suggested Wine Pairings

Medium-bodied red like pinot noir with its sour cherry/cranberry-like fruit is a natural with turkey, but good examples (Burgundy, Oregon) are expensive. For a less expensive choice, try a merlot with raspberry and herb flavours (Chile, Ontario, basic Bordeaux).

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