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To stuff or not to stuff, that is the question.

Stuffing a turkey is traditional and we English love our traditions. However, is it really the right thing to do? Read this then make up your mind.

My mum used to stuff ours with a packet of Paxo. The soggy bits stuck to the roof of your mouth and the hard dry bits tasted like sawdust, and didn't really do much for the turkey either. I remember that I always got a bit of turkey feather or turkey innards stuck to mine and I spent most of christmas dinner picking bits out of it or avoiding it altogether.

These days people like to make their own stuffing, the most popular recipe being with sausage meat, chestnuts, fresh herbs, which is delicious and I have the recipe if anybody would like it. The problem is this: To ensure the sausage meat is cooked you have to overcook the turkey. The heat of the oven has to penetrate through turkey bones before it can cook your stuffing, thus rendering the turkey dry. Also, if you don't cook that stuffing properly then you have undercooked meat on your hands and we all know what that means. Also, after dinner, while the turkey is sitting on the side cooling down ready for the fridge, the stuffing inside will still be warm: bacteria will multiply at an enormous rate.

If you must stuff then as you pull the turkey out of the oven take all the stuffing out of the bird and return it to the oven on a separate tray loosely covered while the bird rests and you make the gravy.

I personally prefer to stuff my turkey with whole onions, lemons, garlic and lots of fresh sage and make a sausage gateau wrapped in streaky bacon to cook separately. (Let me know if you would like the recipe).

Bon Appetit and stay food safe this christmas.

Anne Northfield | Private Chef | +441622206259

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