When Jona Lewie wrote and released STOP THE CALVARY in 1980, he never intended it to be a Christmas song. But the brass band and the reference to “home in time for Christmas” made it a hit.
This is my favourite Christmas song of all time and reminds me of Paula’s Dad, Keith. He bought it for her as a birthday present and we played it constantly on the little record player in her bedroom all winter. No doubt the song will continue to be a Christmas favourite “down throughout these centuries”.
This recipe for Roast Turkey is perfect whatever time of year, as turkey is not just for Christmas.
For the turkey: 910g (2lb) approx turkey breast joint, boneless, in a foil tray * 55g (2oz) butter, cut into slices * 5 streaky bacon rashers
For the stuffing: 1 onion, chopped * 2 tbsp butter * 30g (1oz) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs * 2 celery sticks, chopped * 1 apple, cored and chopped * 55g (2oz) dried apricots, chopped * 55g (2oz) walnuts, chopped * 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped * salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the gravy: 55g (2oz) butter * 3 tbsp plain flour * 650ml (1½ pints) turkey stock * 125ml (4 floz) sherry
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Remove the turkey from the foil and wipe it with kitchen paper. Keep the foil but make sure all the plastic has been taken off.
Make the stuffing. Fry the onion in butter in a frying pan until soft and translucent. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, celery, apple, apricots and walnuts. Add the cooked onions, parsley and season with salt & pepper taste. Use some butter to grease the bottom of the foil tray and fill with the stuffing mix.
Roast the turkey. Cover the turkey with butter, season with salt & pepper and cover it with the bacon rashers. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and cook for a further 30 minutes. Take off the foil and return back to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover with foil and a clean tea towel. Leave the turkey and stuffing in the tray, allowing to rest whilst you make the gravy.
Make the gravy. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk into a smooth paste. Add the stock, a little at a time, until you have a smooth gravy. Add the sherry and allow to reduce to a gravy consistency. Serve in a warmed jug with the turkey.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.