Thursday, 24 December 2009

Mango and Macadamia Turkey Stuffing with Sage and Sausage Meat

My husband likes a bit of stuffing (groan...but how could I not use that old chestnut?) and is very partial to one containing dried apricots, just like his mum used to make.  This year, though, I thought I'd go for something with more of a local flavour.

Mangos have just come into season here in South Africa, and my goodness they are good this year: big, juicy globes with perfect, perfumed flesh.  I've used dried mangos in this stuffing, and have chosen local macadamias for the nut component, because they are surely the crunchiest of all nuts. A little pork-sausage meat adds body to the stuffing, with sage and lemon rind adding a final burst of flavour.

I can't offer you a photograph of the finished turkey, because it hasn't gone into the oven.

I love the day before Christmas (many South Africans have a feast on Christmas Eve, rather than on the 25th, when it's usually just too hot to sit down to an enormous lunch with all the trimmings).

We' re expecting 26 relatives and friends for a big feast tonight, including my sister and her family who have come from Sydney. (No, this turkey won't feed 26 - my sister's also bringing turkeys, and my mum bought a ham so big I had to put a seatbelt on it to drive it home.)   My other sister's making a Black Forest trifle, and the other (I have lots of sisters!) a cold cucumber soup for starters.  In a few minutes a gang of over-excited cousins is arriving to decorate the Christmas table, and I am marching around in my apron shouting instructions:  'Peel the potatoes! (My husband). 'Carry chairs outside!'  (My teens). 'Go and have a rest!' (My daughter).  I am a teeny bit grumpy, but that's all part of the fun, isn't it?

This quantity is enough to stuff a 3.5 kg turkey.

Mango and Macadamia Turkey Stuffing with Sage and Sausage Meat

a little sunflower oil
1 large onion, peeled and very finely chopped
4 pork sausages (Eskort sausages are unbeatable)
2 cloves garlic,  very finely chopped
3/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/3 cup chopped, dried mango slices
10 slices day-old white or brown bread, torn
6 large sage leaves
1 large (thumb-length) sprig of thyme, leaves stripped
the finely grated zest of a small lemon
1 extra-large egg, or two small ones, lightly beaten
salt and milled black pepper

Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and add the onion.  Cook over a medium heat until just softened. Squeeze the sausage meat out of the sausages and add to the pan. Turn up the heat and cook briskly, using a fork to crumble the sausage meat.  When the meat begins to brown, add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the macadamia nuts and mango in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until roughly chopped.   Remove and set aside.  Add the bread, sage, thyme and lemon zest to the food processor bowl and process until fine.  Tip into a large bowl, add the egg and season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped mango and nuts. Using your fingers, combine the mixture well.  It should have a loose open texture and just hold together when you squeeze a little into a ball.

Now test the seasoning: heat some sunflower oil in the same pan in which you cooked the onions, and add a little piece of stuffing. Fry on both sides until lightly browned. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Stuff the mixture into the cavity and the neck area of your turkey, tie up the legs and cook the turkey according the the instructions on the packet.

Enough to stuff a 3.5 kg turkey. 
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