Turkey and black pudding ballotine with smoked bacon jam, onions, walnut crumble and pickled cranberries

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This festive turkey recipe is a fantastic alternative to the more traditional roast bird – perfect if you're feeding a smaller crowd or just want to mix things up a little this year. The turkey is stuffed with black pudding and wrapped in bacon, served with an incredible bacon jam and roast onions, then finished with a walnut crumb for texture and pickled cranberries for a burst of Christmassy tangy sweetness.

First published in 2020




Smoked bacon jam


Pickled cranberries

  • 150g of cranberries
  • 150ml of water
  • 100g of white wine vinegar
  • 50g of caster sugar

Walnut crumble


Begin by making the pickled cranberries, as these need to be made in advance. Place the water, vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the cranberries and leave to pickle for at least a few days in the fridge
  • 150ml of water
  • 100g of white wine vinegar
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 150g of cranberries
Butterfly the turkey breast ,ensuring you have the same width of meat across the whole breast. If it is uneven, place a sheet of greaseproof paper over and bash to an even width with a rolling pin. Season with salt and pepper
Discard the skin of the black pudding then blitz in a blender to form a paste. Transfer to a piping bag, then pipe the black pudding down the centre of the breast lengthways. Tightly roll the turkey up into a cylinder
Lay the bacon rashers out on a sheet of baking paper, slightly overlapping so there are no gaps to create a sheet of bacon. Place another piece of baking paper on top and use a rolling pin to apply pressure to the bacon, helping it to stick together
Remove the top layer of paper, then place the turkey in the bottom third of the rectangle of bacon. Lift up the bottom sheet of paper to help tightly wrap the bacon around the turkey. Remove the paper, then roll the ballotine very tightly in 3 layers of cling film. Tie up the ends and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
Once rested, set up a steamer oven or steamer basket large enough to hold the turkey. Steam the turkey (still in its cling film) until a thermometer inserted into the centre reads 70°C (this should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour). After the turkey reaches this temperature, place it in iced water to halt the cooking process, then set aside. Leave the ballotine in the cling film to ensure it keeps its neat shape
Next, make the bacon jam. Sweat the diced onions and garlic in a splash of vegetable oil over a low heat for 20 minutes, or until very soft and only a pale golden colour. Add the bacon and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, then add the sugar and vinegar and reduce down slowly to a jam consistency. Be careful not to cook the jam down too much, otherwise it will solidify when cool
Once you’re happy with the consistency, leave the jam to cool slightly then pulse in a blender for a more consistent texture. Stir through the julienned sage and set aside
For the onions, preheat an oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Cut each onion in half horizontally (keeping the root attached as it keeps the onion together whilst cooking) and peel. Season with salt
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the onions cut-side down until nicely caramelised. Once you are happy with the colour, place the onions in a tray on top of the thyme and garlic and cook in the oven for 9-12 minutes (depending on size). Remove the outer layer and set aside to reheat before serving
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme
  • 6 garlic cloves, bashed but with the skins left on
Turn the oven down to 180°C/gas mark 4 and toast the walnuts for 9 minutes. Once cooled, transfer to a blender and blitz to a crumble texture
Now all elements of the dish are ready, you can finish the turkey. Turn the oven up to 200°C/gas mark 6, remove the cling film from the ballotine and carefully caramelise in a pan so the bacon crisps up and takes on a nice colour. Transfer to the oven for 14 minutes to finish heating through, then rest in a warm place for 5 minutes whilst you reheat the other elements
Carve the turkey into 6 slices then plate up with the roast onions and a spoonful of bacon jam. Sprinkle over the walnut crumble and dot around the drained pickled cranberries

After spending nine years with the likes of Brett Graham at The Ledbury and The Harwood Arms, James Cochran has become one of the UK's most exciting chefs, wowing the capital with his imaginative cooking at 1251.

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