Moroccan turkey with couscous stuffing

Looking for a fresh idea with turkey this Christmas? This spicy, nutty take on the big bird comes from the brand new Sunday Times Food Weekly Cookbook.

Serves: 6-8 people


30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
15ml (1 tablespoon) butter
2 large finely chopped onions
Finely chopped preserved lemon or the zest of one lemon
2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) saffron strands, saoked in 30 ml boiling water
10 ml (2 teaspoons) ground coriander
10 ml (2 teaspoons) dried cumin
80g soaked in boiled water, drained and finely chopped dried apricots
150g cous cous, soaked in 300 ml chicken stock and fluffed up with a fork
60 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 large beaten egg
Salt and black pepper
15g softened butter
1 finely chopped garlic clove
100g finely chopped pistachios
5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 turkey, about 3-4 kg (or a large chicken), cleaned and dried
250 ml hot chicken stock, or boiling water


For the stuffing, heat the oil and butter and fry the onions until soft. Add the lemon and saffron with the water. Transfer to a bowl, mix in the remaining ingredients and allow to cool completely. Push the stuffing into the cavity of the turkey. Shape any leftover stuffing into balls and keep aside.

Combine 125g of the butter with the garlic, pistachios, cumin and pepper. Loosen the skin on the turkey breast and the neck cavity and carefully push the nuttty butter under the skin. Secure the skin with toothpicks if necessary.

Combine the remaining butter with the cinnamon. Season and smear all over the turkey.

Place turkey in a roasting pan with the stock. Cover with foil and roast in a preheated oven at 60 degrees C for 25 minutes per 500g. Remove the foil, place the stuffing balls around the turkey and roast for a further 30 minutes until the turkey is golden brown and the stuffing is cooked. Rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Extracted from Sunday Times Food Weekly Cookbook, by Hilary Biller.

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