In Cyprus, we always used to roast our turkey on Christmas Day and I can remember what a huge bird we used to roast as I come from a big family. I have five brothers and sisters and apart from one of my brothers who lives in Australia, the rest we used to gather, with their wives or husbands and children, at a different house each time on Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, on New Year’s Eve, on New Year’s day, on Epiphany Day and on St. John’s (7th January).
I usually roast a turkey between 4 – 5 kilos. For each kilo of turkey, it should bake for an hour,
I continue roasting the turkey on Christmas day making the same recipe year after year.
In Greece turkey is stuffed with minced meat and in the stuffing they add pine nuts and chestnuts.
Galopoula Gemisti (Stuffed Turkey), Cypriot Recipe
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: about 5 hours (for a 5 kilo turkey)
- 1 turkey 4-5 kilos (considered relatively small) according to your guest list – 1/2 kilo per person
- 550-650 grams of chicken giblets (livers and hearts only)
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and blended
- ½ cup white dry wine
- ½ cup rice (Carolina or arborio)
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- ½ cup almonds crushed (with the skin)
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
You may also add potatoes in your roast:
- 2 kilos potatoes (about 1 medium potato per person)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (at will)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon oregano (or more if you like)
- 1 cup olive oil
- Fresh rosemary leaves
- If you are buying a fresh turkey ask your butcher not to make a large incision, so you won’t be having a lot to sew afterwards.
- Wash and clean both inside and outside. (This procedure is better done from the previous day as it takes a lot of time to have it ready).
- Brine the turkey.
- Prepare the stuffing. Wash the giblets and let them drain from the water then cut into small pieces (as small as possible). If you have a food processor where you can grind them, so much the better.
- Peel and finely chop the onion. In a large skillet heat the oil and slightly sauté the onion before browning add the giblets and sauté as well. Add wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Add, salt, pepper, cinnamon, parsley, almonds, raisins, tomatoes and the water and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the rice, lower heat and stir until most of the fluids have been absorbed.Remove from heat, cover with a napkin and let it cool down.
- Place turkey in a large baking tin and season cavity with salt and pepper.Have a large needle and white thread ready for sewing. Stuff turkey’s cavities (stomach and throat) with the filling and sew the skin.
- Season with salt and pepper and tie legs together loosely to hold shape of turkey and place in the tin breast facing down.
- Preheat oven to 180º C / 350º F.
- Peel and cut potatoes in quarters or eight pieces if potato is big and add salt, pepper, rosemary leaves and oregano. Add 1 cup of olive oil and the lemon juice.
- Wrap the tin with aluminum foil carefully so that steam will not escape.
- Bake for three hours and carefully remove foil to turn the turkey over. Cover again and bake for another hour. Remove foil and continue baking for another hour, until nice and golden.
- Remove turkey from the tin and let it cool down for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Before cutting remove the stuffing in a platter.
Note added after Christmas 2008:
I also added 2 cups of boiled and peeled chestnuts and 2 spring onions and all these added to the taste.
As soon as turkey is ready remove from the oven and place some slices of bread and roast. Sprinkle some olive oil and oregano on top.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,