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Beggars Turkey

1 small (3Kg) turkey

1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil

3/4 cup instant brown rice
300g pork, finely chopped
100g water chestnuts
40g ginger
3 spring onions
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon dark (mushroom) soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vinegar

9 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups water

aluminium foil

Soak the rice in warm water for 1 hour.

Wash and pat the turkey dry inside and out. Mix the marinade, rub
into the skin and leave for one hour.

Chop the pork, ginger and water chestnuts finely. Cut the spring onions
into 1" lengths. Stir fry the pork with a little peanut oil in a wok
till it changes colour, then add all the other stuffing ingredients,
and stir fry for another minute or so. Stuff into the turkey, tie the
legs and wings together with string, and wrap in alumium foil, trying
to seal as well as possible.

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, then mix in the water a little
at a time till you have a firm dough. Roll the dough out till it is
about 20mm (3/4"), and completely encase the bird. Press the edges
together to seal the joins, and prick a couple of breathing holes in
the top with a skewer (doubt if this really matters; I've never
managed to fully seal the dough).

Preheat the oven to 245C (475F). Put the turkey on a greased wire
rack in the middle of the oven, over a drip tray, and cook for one
hour. Reduce the temperature to 190C (375F) and cook another 3hrs 15
mins.

Bring to the table, crack open the casing with a mallet, and serve.


If you haven't tried it, I would suggest you practise on beggars
chicken first. For a 1.5 Kg chicken roughly halve the quantities (5
cups of flour), and cook for 1 hr at 475, and 1.5 hrs at 375. Nothing
is very critical; if you get too much stuffing you can eat the surplus
straight from the wok.

The original chicken recipe specified 5 cups of flour and 1 Kg of
salt. This gives a very hard dough which is much more exciting to
smash, but is completely inedible. My recipe gives a more breadlike
dough which you can eat (as if you would need to at Christmas :-), and
I feel it is more environmentally friendly.

If you can get them you may like to use lotus leaves instead of
foil, and if you really want to be authentic use clay instead of
dough. The mud from the municipal lily pond would be more authentic
still, but that might be carrying things a bit far.

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