I have finally found a way to cook the bird evenly, so it will retain all its flavour, plus carve like a dream. This secret is to partially bone it prior to cooking and stuff it to look like a whole bird.
The stuffing contains cubed turkey breast and ground turkey. It has a moist, luxurious, paté-like texture. Studded with the prunes and pistachios, it's colourful as well as tasty. Always fry a little piece of the mixture before stuffing the bird to make sure it has enough seasonings. This recipe is also wonderful cold.
1 14-lb. turkey
2 tbsp. olive oil or turkey fat
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lb. boneless turkey breast, cubed
1 lb. ground turkey, veal or chicken
2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried tarragon
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. paprika
¼ cup port or Madeira
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup shelled pistachios, optional
12 pitted prunes
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Bone the turkey leaving the drumsticks and wings intact. Skillful professionals are able to bone from one end without cutting through any skin or flesh. If your butcher uses this method, make a slice along the length of the bird's back through the skin and flesh and lay the entire turkey torso out flat, skin side side down on counter.
Combine all ingredients except prunes and mix well. Spread stuffing over bird pushing into nooks and crannies. Lay a row of prunes down the centre overlapping slightly.
Bring both sides of the flattened torso up around the stuffing until they meet.
Using a trussing needle (available at kitchen shops) and string (a large needle and unwaxed dental floss will work in a pinch), pull together any loose skin and sew it all together, making sure there are no places stuffing can seep out.
Turn the turkey over, and with your hands shape it into a roll that approximates the shape of the original bird.
Tie a length of string around the wings to hold them in place. Tie another around the middle of roll, and one more around the drumsticks.
Combine marinade and brush on bird. Place bird on rack in a roasting pan, breast side up.
Roast 45 minutes, baste and turn over. Roast 45 minutes longer, baste and turn over again. Cook a further 45 minutes to an hour or until juices run clear or an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of the bird reads 170 F.
Remove from oven, cover with tea towel and let rest 20 minutes.
To carve: Place bird on a platter. Remove legs and wings and and slice.
Suggested Wine Pairings