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Perfect Holiday Turkey 1996


Shopping List

20 lb. fresh turkey
onions
celery
parsley - 2 bunches
sour dried cherries
dried cranberries
dried apricots
walnuts, pecans or chestnuts (your choice)
2 parsnips
2 turnips
1 sweet potato
1 lb. butter
dry white wine (Riesling)
Madeira
2 loaves homemade egg bread***
(or top quality purchased)
fresh thyme
fresh sage
poultry seasoning
salt 
black pepper

Special Tools You Will Need

cheesecloth (at least 4 yards)
roaster
rack
baster
accurate meat thermometer -- instant read

Turkey and Stuffing

20 lb. fresh turkey
1 onion, cut in quarters
1 turnip, cut in quarters
3 stalks celery cut in 6 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut in quarters
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 C white wine
1 C Madeira

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add 1 C white wine and stir to combine and
heat through. Turn off heat under saucepan. Wash fresh turkey inside and
out with cool water. Pat dry and sprinkle cavities lightly with salt and
pepper. Turn the turkey upside down and loosely fill the neck cavity
with stuffing. Skewer flap to back of turkey and fold wings under. Turn
turkey breast side up and stuff the visceral cavity loosely with
dressing. Tie legs and tail together with string. Place the cut
vegetables and the turkey's liver, heart, gizzard and neck in the bottom
of  a large roasting pan. Add 2 cups of stock. Place rack in pan and
turkey, breast side up, on rack. Brush surface of the turkey with
butter/wine basting mixture in saucepan, using it all.  Fold the
cheesecloth in such a way as to have at least four layers of the breast
of the bird. Soak cheesecloth in stock, wring out and drape over the
breast of the turkey. Preheat the oven to 350.  Roast the turkey for
about 3 1/2 hours, basting with pan juices every half hour. Remove
cheesecloth from turkey and continue to roast for another hour or so,
basting with pan juices every 15 minutes until turkey reaches an
internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of
the thigh.  The center of the dressing should be at 165 degrees
Fahrenheit. If, at any time the liquid in the bottom of the roaster
dries up and the vegetables in the bottom start to burn, add more stock
from the kettle.  

Remove from oven and place the  turkey on platter. Remove rack, scraping
off turkey residue. Remove and reserve the vegetables and giblets. Pour
the liquid in the pan into a large glass measure and set aside. 

Add 1 cup Madeira  to pan. Sit pan on stove burner over low heat and
stir, scraping stuck bits from bottom and side of pan. Puree the
vegetables with 1 C stock and add to the pan. Continue to cook and stir
until reduced by half. When reserved cooking liquids from the turkey
have separated, use a baster to remove the rich dark liquid from the
bottom of the glass container, taking care to not pick up the grease
from the top.  Add to the pan and stir in. Continue to simmer. Thicken
the gravy according to your preference 1. Put 2 C stock into a jar or
bowl with a tight-fitting lid.  Add 1/2 C  flour, cover tightly and
shake to blend flour and liquid until smooth. Add to the pan, and cook
and stir until gravy is thickened.  2. Combine 2 C stock with 1/2 C
cornstarch. Stir to blend and add to the pan. Cook and stir until gravy
is thickened. Pour through a sieve to remove lumps if desired, adjust
seasoning and serve. (I prefer my turkey gravy to have a little
character, so I skip this step).

Dressing

2 loaves of egg bread, cut in 1/2- 1-inch cubes
2 C chopped onions
2 C chopped celery
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 C chopped fresh sage (sub. 1 tbsp. dried sage)
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 tsp. salt
8-10 cups rich turkey stock
1 C chopped parsley
1 C sour dried cherries
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C dried apricots, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely

Chop the bread into 1/2 inch - 1 inch cubes. Set aside. In a large
skillet, melt the butter and stir in the onions and celery. Saute gently
until the onions are translucent and the celery is cooked. Stir in the
sage, thyme, black pepper, poultry seasoning and salt. Add 2 C stock to
the pan, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine roughly 1/3 of the bread cubes with the
contents of the skillet. Add chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Add an
additional 1/3 of the bread cubes  and  the dried fruit and nuts.  Add
another 2 cups of the stock. Stir to combine. Add remaining 1/3 of the
cubes with an additional 1-3 cups of stock. Vary the liquid to produce a
dressing in which the cubes are still roughly distinguishable in shape. 

Rich Turkey Stock

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven,  put neck and gizzard from turkey.
Add 3-4 quarts water, 6 stalks of celery, cut up, 1 onion, cut up, 3
carrots, cut in chunks,  1 tbsp. salt, 2 bay leaves,  and 2 tbsp. black
peppercorns. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3
hours. Add 1 C white wine.  Simmer for another couple of hours. Strain
and discard vegetables. Reserve neck and gizzard to roast with the
turkey. 

*** Homemade Egg Bread: Because I use a bread machine, I like to use the
recipe for Egg Bread from Lois Conway and Linda Rehberg's "Bread Machine
Magic Book of Helpful Hints". I make two batches for the stuffing.  If
making bread by hand, any egg bread would be appropriate. If you are
purchasing bread, a brioche, challah, or rich butter bread from a good
bakery will work in this recipe.

Egg Bread

For 1 1/2 pound loaf

3/4 to 7/8 C milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. Red Star brand active dry yeast

1. Place all ingredients in bread pan, select Light Crust setting, and
press Start. 

2. After the baking cycle ends, remove bread from pan, place on cake
rack and allow to cool 1 hour before slicing.

I like to bake the bread the day before, and baked this recipe twice.
The next morning, I sliced the bread and then cut the slices into cubes.

Recipe from "The Bread Machine Magic Book of Helpful Hints" by Linda
Rehberg and Lois Conway, published by St. Martin's Griffin Press,
Copyright 1995. Used with permission.






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