Turquailakey!!! (A.K.A. Christmas Chez La Medical Gourmet)

Yes! I finally did it. After many years of wanting to, but never being allowed to, I stuffed our Christmas turkey not only with traditional stuffing, but also with a quail! HAHA. And why? Because I can! Ha! (Yes ok, you got me, also because Ted gave me the glorious idea millions of years ago. His idea was to stuff the turkey with a smaller turkey. However, a 4-6 person turkey doesn’t have a large enough cavity to fit another turkey – hence the quail, because a quail fits into everything:-).)

If it would be up to me, one should have turkey ,with all it’s trimmings, once a month. Actually, the trimmings alone would suffice – the stuffing, cranberry sauce, the sprouts – NOM. This past month I went a tad turkey crazy with three proper full blown on turkey-experiences. Would I eat turkey&co again tomorrow? Hell yeah!
That being said – if anyone out there is still panicking about what to cook for New Year’s dinner – Turquailakey?

Turquailakey with Pork, Onion & Sage Stuffing, Sprouts, Cranberry Sauce, Celeriac Mash and Red Cabbage


inspired by Delia Smith, Annemarie Wildeisen, Gordon Ramsay & Ted Mosby
Serves 6

For the Cranberry Sauce
150g caster sugar
2 star anise
4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
350-400g fresh cranberries
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
60ml ruby port
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Cinnamon, ground
Nutmeg, ground

For the Celeriac Mash
1kg celeriac, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
450g potatoes, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves
50g butter
150ml creme fraiche
salt, pepper & nutmeg, to taste

For the Sprouts
1kg of Brussels sprouts, trimmed
50g+ butter
Salt & pepper, to taste

For the Red Cabbage
1kg red cabbage, quartered, core removed, finely sliced
1 large onion
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 stock cube (preferably vegetable)
400ml red wine
1 cinnamon stick
30g butter
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp red currant gelee
1 pinch of ground cloves
salt & pepper, to taste

For the Stuffing
900g pork sausage meat
1 onion, finely chopped
75g chopped almonds
75g raisins, soaked in white wine, just to cover, overnight
25g fresh sage, chopped
75g breadcrumbs made from two day old bread

For the Turkey
3.5kg turkey
1 quail
225g rashers of streaky bacon
100-150g butter
Salt & Pepper


  1. For the stuffing (to be prepared in the morning): Combine your breadcrumbs with the onion and sage in a large mixing bowl, then stir in a little boiling water and mix thoroughly. Work the sausage meat, into this mixture and season with salt and pepper. Finally add your raisins (including the wine) and almonds. Set aside in a cool place until needed.
  2. For the turkey (oh sorry, I meant turquailakey): Preheat the oven to 220°C.
    • To stuff: Loosen the skin with your hands and pack the stuffing into the neck end, pushing it up between the flesh and the skin towards the breast. Be gentle. Tuck the neck flap under the bird’s back and secure with a small skewer. And for the fun part:put some stuffing into the quails cavity, then place the quail inside the turkey, and stuff the remaining stuffing into the body cavity.
    • Arrange two large sheets of foil across your baking tin. Lay the turkey in the centre, then rub it generously all over with the butter, making sure the thighbones are particularly well covered. Season with salt and pepper and cover in bacon, with the rashers overlapping each other.
    • Now wrap the turkey in the foil – it must be firmly sealed but roomy enough inside to provide an air space while cooking. Bring one piece of foil up and fold both ends over to make a pleat along the length of the breastbone. Then bring the other piece up at both ends, and crimp and fold to make a neat parcel. Or just freestyle it.
    • Place the roasting tin on a low shelf in the oven and cook at the initial high temperature for 20 minutes.
    • After that, lower the heat to 170°C and cook for a further 1 hour 45 minutes.
    • Then tear the foil away from the top and sides of the bird, remove the bacon slices to allow the skin to brown and crisp. The bacon rashers can be placed on a heat-proof plate and put back in the oven to finish cooking till all the fat has melted and there are just very crisp bits left
    • Increase the heat to 200°C and cook the turkey for a further 25-30 minutes. The turkey will need frequent basting during this time, so the whole operation will probably take nearer 40 minutes.
    • Transfer your turkey to a warm serving plate, keeping it covered with foil and the juices and let it sit for about 20 – 30 minutes before carving.
  3. For the cranberry sauce: Put the sugar into a heavy-based pan with the star anise and cardamom pods and melt over a medium heat until you have a rich caramel colour, then add the cranberries. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, then add the apples and cook for another 3-4 minutes, tossing frequently to coat the fruit. Pour in the port, then reduce the heat and stir in the orange zest/juice, a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Simmer for 10ish minutes – some of the cranberries will break down and thicken the sauce. Remove from the heat and discard the star anise and cardamom (HAHA I never do this – my guests deserve a nasty surprise……although, come to think of it, it’s usually me who ends up with the cardamom).
  4. For the mash: tip your celery and potatoes into two separate pans, adding a peeled clove of garlic and some salt to each. Cover them both with water and boil for about 10 minutes, until soft. Once cooked, drain each vegetable and return both to the larger pan. Add your butter, creme fraiche, a generous pinch of nutmeg, salt & pepper and mash/puree either by hand or using an electric mixer. Taste, add more seasoning, set aside until the dinner.
  5. For the red cabbage: Heat your butter in a large pot and braise the onions and apple. Add your cabbage and continue to braise for a few minutes. Now add your wine, cinnamon stick, stock cube, balsamic vinegar, gelee, ground cloves and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmering and cook for about 2 hours – for the first 30minutes leave your pot covered, for the remaining time remove the lid. Make sure there is always enough liquid – feel free to add more wine if needed. Season with salt & pepper. Done.
  6. For the sprouts: fill a large pot with water and some salt and bring to a boil. Add your sprouts and boil for about 4-5 minutes. Drain the excess water and transfer your sprouts into a frying pan with a generous amount of butter, salt & pepper, and maybe also a pinch or two of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne if your feeling inventive. Heat the pan to low-medium heat, cover with a lid, and let your sprouts sit and soak up the butter, while stirring occasionally. I would say a decent cooking time on low-medium heat is about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Phew – probably the longest recipe I have written so far. WORTH IT. Carve the turkey and serve along with everything. Go for seconds. And thirds. But please don’t over eat.

Rating – 9/10

Considering its the first Turquailakey I’ve ever had/made, not too bad (I wonder what Ted would say..). As for the usual classics side – AMAZING, if I may say so.

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