Roast turkey with lemon couscous

    2 hours 15 min

    A small turkey like this is amazingly economical. It will give enough meat for at least 8 portions, or you can serve 4 people and have plenty of leftovers for sandwiches, salads and other dishes. Don't forget to keep the turkey carcass to make stock for soup.

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    Serves: 8 

    • 4 large lemons
    • 340 g (12 oz) couscous
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 900 ml (1½ pints) hot chicken or turkey stock, preferably home-made
    • 115 g (4 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
    • 4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 1 turkey, about 2.25 kg (5 lb), without giblets
    • 150 ml (5 fl oz) dry sherry
    • salt and pepper
    • sprigs of fresh mint to garnish

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr45min  ›  Ready in:2hr15min 

    1. Halve the lemons lengthways and squeeze out all the juice into a jug. Pull the membranes and pulp from each lemon half to leave a smooth clean shell. Cut a thin slice off the base of each shell so that it will stand firmly. Set aside.
    2. Place the couscous in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add 4 tbsp of the lemon juice, the spices, 750 ml (1¼ pints) of the stock, the apricots and mint, and stir to mix well. Leave to soak for 10 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed all the stock.
    3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Place the turkey on a rack in a medium-sized roasting tin and pour over 150 ml (5 fl oz) hot water.
    4. When the couscous is ready, use a spoon to stuff some of it into the neck end of the turkey. Secure the skin flap underneath the bird with the wing tips. Spoon 2 tbsp of the lemon juice over the bird. Cover the turkey loosely with oiled foil and roast for 1¾ hours. Baste with roasting juices occasionally to keep it moist, and remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to brown. At the end of the cooking time, test the turkey by pushing a metal skewer into the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. If they are still pink, continue to roast the bird, testing every 10 minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, fill the lemon halves with couscous. Spread the rest of the couscous in a small ovenproof dish and sit the lemon halves on top. Cover loosely with foil and place in the oven for the last 20 minutes of the turkey's roasting time.
    6. When the turkey is cooked, remove it from the tin and leave it to rest on a carving board for 10 minutes. Skim all the fat from the surface of the juices in the tin, then add the sherry and remaining stock. Bring to the boil on top of the cooker, scraping up the browned bits from the tin. Boil for 5 minutes. Season to taste.
    7. Carve the turkey and serve with the couscous-filled lemons, garnished with mint sprigs, the extra couscous and the sauce from the pan.

    Plus points

    Couscous is low in fat and high in starchy carbohydrate. It scores fairly low on the Glycaemic Index scale, which means that it breaks down slowly in the body, releasing energy gradually into the bloodstream.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12. Good source of iron, niacin. Useful source of copper, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, zinc.

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