Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Get your bird on

Traditional Stuffed Turkey

12 to 14 pound turkey with the giblets reserved
1 lemon, halved
salt and pepper
butter, melted

Meat Stuffing:
4 to 6 Tablespoons butter
2 onions, finely chopped
6 ounce lean ground lamb
reserved turkey heart and liver, finely chopped
1 pound fresh chestnuts
2 cups strained turkey broth
1/2 cup raw unprocessed rice
1 lamb liver, minced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

Take fresh chestnuts and slit the base of each shell crosswise, boiled for 5 minutes, peel and break into small pieces.

To make broth: simmering the reserved turkey neck and gizzard in 3 cups water for 45 minutes, then strain turkey broth.

Wash the turkey in cold water, pat it dry inside and out, and leave it for 30 minutes while you cook your stuffing.

For the stuffing, heat the butter in a skillet and fry the onions until they begin to change color, then add the ground lamb and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the turkey heart and liver, the chestnuts, and pine nuts and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring this to a boil. Add the rice and cook quickly for 10 minutes, then add the lamb liver, bread crumbs, and apples. Stir well.

To stuff the turkey, slit the skin at the back of the neck and cut off the neck down to the turkey's shoulders if the neck has not already been removed. Lightly fill the cavity, remembering that the stuffing always swells and too much swelling might cause the neck skin to burst. Sew or pin with a skewer the neck flap to the back of the turkey. Just as lightly, fill the body cavity, and sew or skewer this together.

Tie the legs to the tail and fix the wings snugly to the body. Do not bring the cord across the breast lest it mark the skin. Rub the turkey cut with lemon, salt, pepper and melted butter and place it in a large, shallow pan in a moderate oven (preheat to 350 degrees, then lower temperature to 325 degrees). Roast it according to its weight when stuffed, allowing 25 to 30 minutes per pound.

Extra stuffing can be roasted in a pan for 45 minutes or so and served with the turkey. Or it can be made into rissoles by shaping it into small balls, dipping then into beaten egg and bread crumbs, and then frying them in butter, to be served as a garnish.
Cooking Turkey

Roasting Turkey Cook until temperature reaches 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh. Cooking times are for planning purposes only - always use a meat thermometer to determine doneness.

Turkey Thawing Hints from the National Turkey Federation

Turkeys can be thawed using one of three methods, but the most fool proof is in the refrigerator. The key to this method is to plan ahead and allow approximately 24 hours for every four to five pounds of bird weight for thawing in the refrigerator. This method is the safest and will result in the best finished product. Place the bird, in the original wrapping, on a shallow baking sheet in the refrigerator. The following chart provides good guidelines for thawing times.

Refrigerator Turkey Thawing Time (40 degrees F)

Turkey Weight Days to Allow for Thawing Turkey

8 to 12 pounds 2 to 2.5 days
12 to 16 pounds 2.5 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days

If you need to thaw the turkey more quickly, you may thaw the bird in COLD water, in the original wrapping. The cold water must be changed every 30 minutes. Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound using this method.

COLD Water Turkey Thawing Time

Turkey Weight Hours to Allow for Thawing Turkey

8 to 12 pounds 4 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours

The third safe method for thawing a turkey is in the microwave. Follow the manufacturer's directions and roast the turkey immediately after thawing.

Honey-Basted Roast Turkey Recipe

1 small turkey, 10 to 12 pounds

2 T. peanut oil

1/2 t. ground sage

1/2 t. ground allspice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small bunch green onions

3 to 4 T. honey

Garnish: Decorative string of cranberries and bay leaves or sage leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Remove giblets from turkey (reserve for gravy, recipe follows). Rinse turkey and pat dry. Rub inside and out with oil. Season with sage, allspice, salt and pepper. Stuff neck and body cavities with onions and truss, if desired. Place turkey in roasting pan. Roast, allowing 18 to 20 minutes per pound, until juices run clear with no hint of pink when thigh is pierced.

During the last hour of cooking, baste turkey 2 to 3 times with honey.

Serve with pan gravy and garnish with decorative string of cranberries and bay leaves or sage leaves, if desired.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Giblet Pan Gravy

Turkey neck and giblets

3 C. water

2 celery tops

2 green onions

Pan juices from roasted turkey

4 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place neck and giblets, except the liver, in a saucepan with water, celery tops and green onions.

Chop liver and reserve. Bring water to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat for about 40 minutes or until giblets are tender. Strain broth and reserve.

Chop cooked giblets and combine with chopped liver.

In the same saucepan, bring 2 cups combined pan juices and giblet broth to a boil.

Stir in chopped giblets and cornstarch-water mixture. Cook gravy over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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