Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stuffed Turkey Recipe

This recipe turned out to be very tasty!! We did this for Christmas dinner and everyone enjoyed it.
Basically it is done in 4 steps:
- Brine the turkey
- Prepare the stuffing
- Season and Stuff the turkey
- Roast the turkey

We had a 5.6 kg turkey so please adjust the ingredients for your turkey accordingly.

Step 1: Brine the turkey

This step is not necessary but it has many benefits like having moist meat, well seasoned meat even in the deepest places, decreased cooking time, and others (you can read more about it online).

Some important points:
- wash the turkey well before and after the brine for a couple of minutes
- don't keep your turkey in the brine longer than stated not to become too salty
- begin the roasting step 30 minutes maximum after taking the turkey out of the brine, so if you will stuff your turkey, make sure it is ready before removing the turkey from the brine

- 1 cup table salt (you can decrease this amount if you don't prefer salty food)
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 bay leaves (Laurel) broken in small pieces
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 6 litres cold water
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1 medium onion cut into rings
- 3 cloves garlic chopped

- In a big container that can hold more than 12 litres, mix the salt, pepper, sugar, bay leaves, thyme with the water. Make sure that the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
- Juice the lemon and the orange over the mixture and cut what is left into wedges. Add them along with the onion and the garlic and mix all together.
- Place the turkey inside the container so that all the turkey is covered with the brine.
- Cover the container and refrigerate for around 3 hours per kg (not more than 24 hours for the 5.6 kg turkey).

Step 2: Prepare the stuffing

If you prepare too much stuffing that doesn't fit into the turkey, you can use the remaining as a side dish as it tastes great even without being inside the turkey!

- Stock from turkey giblets
- 6-8 cups bread, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
- 100 gm walnut
- 100 gm almonds
- 6 tbsp butter
- 3 big onions chopped
- 2 colored bell peppers chopped
- 1 green apple, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 tbsp dried parsley (substitute with 1/4 cup chipped fresh parsley)
- 2 bay leaves (Laurel)
- salt and black pepper

- If the stock is not ready, then boil the turkey's giblets for 30-60 minutes with some salt.
- Put the bread cubes in the oven on medium-low heat (160-180 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes, till they dry and have a golden color.
- Toast the walnuts and the almonds, without oil or butter, on low heat in a frying pan for a few minutes until they are slightly browned. After they cool down, break them with your fingers.
- Melt 3 tbsp only of butter in a pan. Add the onions and the bell peppers and fry for 10 minutes.
- Melt the 3 other tbsp butter in another pan. Add the bread and fry for 2 minutes or till they become a little browned.
- Add the onions and bell peppers to the bread, along with the apple, raisins, parsley and the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add 1 to 1&1/2 cup of stock. Don't make the bread very moist, it should be half moist half dry.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes while stirring now and then. If you will keep some of the stuffing as a side dish, then cook this portion till the apples are cooked through.

Step 3: Season and Stuff the turkey

- 1/4 cup salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp all spice
- 3 bay leaves (Laurel) broken in small pieces
- 1 tsp rosemary broken in small pieces
- 1 orange
- Stuffing from Step 2
- Some molten butter/olive oil/normal oil

- Wash the turkey well after taking it out of the brine for a couple of minutes.
- Seperate the skin from the meat by inserting your hand between them and separating from the neck to the breast, and from the cavity opening to the thighs.
- Mix the salt, black pepper, thyme, all spice, bay leaves and the rosemary in a small bowl.
- Cut the orange in half only and juice it over the turkey, inside the cavity and between the skin and the meat.
- Use half of the mixed seasoning and season between the skin and the meat that you separated and inside the cavity.
- Use the other half to season the skin of the turkey from the outside.
- Now you can stuff the turkey, in several places: in the cavity, between the skin and the meat, between the thighs and the breast, in the neck cavity or any other place you like.
- Put the 2 halves of the orange back together and plug the cavity with it to keep the stuffing in place.
- Paint the turkey with the molten butter. As the turkey is just out of fridge, the butter should solidify when on the turkey.

Step 4: Roast the tukey

instructions are for a well done or overcooked turkey. For another degree of cooking please follow other instructions like these for example.

- Some molten butter/olive oil/normal oil (you can use the remaining of the one used in Step 3)

- Put the turkey in a roasting pan or on the oven rack and put a pan under it to collect the dropping juices.
- Cover the turkey with a tent of alumunim foil. Make sure that nothing touches the turkey so that the skin doesn't stick to the tent.
- Preheat the oven on 220-230 degree C and put the covered turkey inside once it arrives to the required degree.
- Leave the turkey for 40 minutes, then decrease the heat to 180 degree C.
- Calculate the cooking time: 40 additional minutes for each kg of turkey. For our turkey as an example: 40+40*5.6 = 4.4 hours.
- For a well done/overcooked turkey, calculate it based on 50 additional minutes for each kg. For our turkey it took: 40+50*5.6 = 5.33 hours.
- Leave the turkey till one hour of cooking remains.
- When 1 hour is remaining, take the turkey out and remove the tent. Take the juice it dropped and let it fall on top of the turkey. Paint it with butter and put it back in the oven uncovered.
- Redo the last step every 15-20 minutes until the turkey has the color you want.

Bon Appétit!

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