Braised Turkey Drumsticks with Port, Pork, Sage and Onion Stuffing, Bacon Rolls, with Cranberry Sauce and Roast Chestnuts
Turkey drumsticks are huge and two of them are enough for six people.
What makes this recipe so good is that the slow braising of the meat closest to the bone gives a superb flavour. Adding bacon rolls and stuffing means all the traditional flavours are there as well. In the recipe I have allowed for this to be made the day before, to give you less stress on Christmas Day (I also think the flavour improves!)
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First melt half the butter and the oil in the casserole.
While that’s heating wipe the turkey drumsticks as dry as possible with kitchen paper and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the butter begins to sizzle, place the drumsticks in the hot fat then, with the heat at medium, brown them, using a spoon and fork to turn them until they are all golden-brown which will take about 10 minutes.
After that remove the turkey drumsticks to a large dish then brown the shallots in the same pan then remove them to join the drumsticks. Finally add the garlic to the pan, which will need about 1 minute, tossing it around to colour. Next return the turkey to the casserole and add the wine, port, stock, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and chopped thyme. Bring it up to simmering point, then put the lid on and cook for in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.
After that turn the drumsticks over and add the shallots, cover and return to the oven for another hour. Then remove the turkey drumsticks and shallots to a clean dish and discard the bay leaves and thyme. Then over a medium heat add the butter-and-flour in small ½ teaspoon-sized lumps to the sauce, and whisk until it comes back to simmering point and thickens. When the turkey is cool enough to handle pull away and discard all of the skin (which has now yielded up all its wonderful flavour) then carefully ease the meat away from the bone keeping it in large chunky pieces. As you do this, remove any of the fine bones and pieces of cartilage and discard them too.
Put the turkey and shallots back into the sauce, and when it has completely cooled, put the lid on and keep it in a fridge – if you have space. Alternatively keep it in a cool shed, garage or the boot of the car or else decant it into a plastic container which might fit the fridge more easily.
On Christmas day heat the casserole gently but thoroughly, covered with a lid, on the stove, which will take about 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a dessertspoon each of butter and groundnut oil and when it’s hot, cook the stuffing balls, turning them frequently until they are evenly browned (this will take about 20 – 25 minutes), then remove them to a hot plate whilst you cook the bacon rolls for 5 minutes on either side the remove them from the skewers and keep them warm with the stuffing and finally sauté the chestnuts in the remaining fat until they are golden brown.
Serve the turkey onto hot plates with the stuffing, bacon rolls and chestnuts on top with the cranberry sauce to hand round at the table.
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You will need a large, lidded heavy based casserole with a capacity of 3.45 litres (5pts).