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 the goods

1 x 15 lb turkey

1 lb store bought corn bread (not too sweet)

1 lb sliced pancetta

12 slices sorpressata or salami sausage

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms rehydrated in 1 cup boiling water

8oz italian truffled cheese, grated

fistful of chopped fresh basil leaves

10-12 fresh sage leaves, chopped

olive oil

8oz (2 sticks) butter

salt and papper

2-3 large onions.

optional:

1/3 cup diced sweet red peppers

1/3 cup chopped olives

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

 

time: 30 mins active 

baking: 21/2-3 hrs

you will need:

  • large mixing bowl
  • large roasting pan
  • meat thermometer 

 

 

Roast turkey with porcini and pancetta cornbread stuffing

This is my basic turkey stuffing. Other than a simple bread and herb stuffing, I find that any meal requiring a roast turkey has enough heavy kitchen traffic without adding a complicated stuffing involving stocks, reductions and esoteric ingredients.

Okay, maybe the truffle cheese is a little field, but it's worth it!

Remove the thoroughly thawed turkey from the fridge an hour or two before you plan to roast it.

Pre-Heat the oven to 400f and move your racks to accomodate the baking tray, preferably with one lower tray left so that the veggies can bake under the turkey.

Make the stuffing by dicing the meats and mushrooms, crumbling the cornbread into coarse chunks, grating the cheese and chopping the herbs. Add a good splash of olive oil and about 1/2 cup of the porcini liquid. Toss it all around.

Clean and pat dry the turkey. Sprinkle the outside and inside with salt. Peel and slice the onions into 1 inch rounds and layer them in the bottom of the roasting pan. You can place the turkey on top of the onions or arrange one of those 'x' shaped racks to hold the bird above the onions.

Loosely stuff the turkey. I prefer stuffing baked inside, you can bake this alongside the bird if you prefer or feel that a stuffed bird is a safety issue. You can also fry the stuffing by sauteeing the pancetta and sorpressata in a pan, adding the other ingredients and letting everything get quite hot. This will shorten the total cooking time, but only do this right before the turkey goes into  the oven. Never stuff a bird before you are ready to bake it.

This stuffing mix will make too much. Here's what I do; I put the leftover stuffing into a ziploc bag and freeze it. Then I make a leftover casserole with the turkey, gravy and roasted vegetables. I toss any leftover stuffing from the roast with the frozen leftover stuffing mix, add a little parmesan and bake it all up into a foxy little supper on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Arrange the turkey in the tray. Dice up the butter and wedge about 1/2 of it in the cavities between the skin and breat on either side. You can also add some diced pancetta in there. Herbs too, if you like.

Tie the legs together to cover the stuffing cavity. I find a nice, fat coil of pancetta seals that up too!

Smother the bird with the rest of the butter then sprinkle salt and pepper over the whole tray. Pour the last 1/2 cup of porcini liquid in with the onions in the bottom of the tray.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Baste with melted butter or tray juices. Cover.

Reduce heat to 350f.

The bird will need about another 2 hours. Cooking time will depend upon your oven and what else you are cooking. If you place veggies on the racks below, you will be cooling your oven so you might want to increase it to 375f.

I uncover the turkey for the last 30 mins to make sure the skin is dark brown and crispy.

I usually put any baked vegetables in the oven 1 hr before the turkey comes out. The turkey is done when the thickest part of the meat registers between 165-180f. The stuffing must also register this temperature (though it will continue to increase in temp after the bird is removed from the oven)

Remove turkey from the oven. Cover the turkey with foil and let it sit for 30 mins. Crank the oven up to get the veggies crisp.

Use the pan juices, onions and all, to make a gravy. Add some cornstarch or plain flour, a splash of balsamic vinegar and, maybe some salt and pepper.

Done.

Here's the math:

1-2 hours for the turkey to come to room temp.

30 minutes to prepare the turkey for cooking

about 3 hrs in the oven

30 mins 'resting'

total time between 5-6 hours.

plenty of time to dip into the cooking sherry before lunch is served!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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