As we discover in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963), James Bond goes ‘through the turkey and plum pudding routine’ on Christmas Day at M’s residence, Mrs Hammond having been ‘brooding over her pots and pans for weeks’.
My Christmas this year was no different, as I cooked the usual turkey, accompanied by all the trimings. Inspired by Christmas dinners past, and with the question in mind, ‘how would James Bond’s turkey have been prepared?’, I turned to cookbooks roughly contemporaneous with Ian Fleming’s Christmas-set novel (such as Marguerite Patten’s Family Cookbook (1964)) for some period flavours.
I followed the usual formulae for roasting the turkey and kept the bird well-basted during its c. 2½-hour cooking time, but before placing the turkey in the oven, I stuffed each end with a different stuffing. In the neck end, I placed a sage-and-onion stuffing. This consisted of a mixture of softened, finely chopped onions (1 large or 2 small), 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 30g shredded suet, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of dried sage, and salt and pepper. The other end was filled with a rolled oat stuffing, which consisted of a cup of rolled oats, another finely chopped onion, and salt and black pepper to season, all the ingredients being fried in oil or butter until the onion has softened.
Both stuffings are traditionally used with turkey and give the dish an authentic 1950s/60s taste. I hope Mrs Hammond approves!