Holiday Roast Turkey

Old-fashioned cooks sometimes added eggs and baking powder to their corn bread stuffing to give it a fluffier texture. The stuffing in this recipe is a delicious example.

Prep time: 26 minutes
Roasting time: 3 hours
Standing time: 15 minutes
Makes: 12 servings

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cups crumbled corn bread
5 cups toasted fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg, lightly beaten
One 12-pound fresh (or frozen and thawed) turkey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Giblet Gravy (recipe follows)

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat. Combine corn bread, breadcrumbs, baking powder, poultry seasoning and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in onion mixture. Whisk broth and egg together in a small bowl. Stir into corn bread mixture. Toss to coat well.

2. Heat oven to 325°F. Rinse turkey; drain and pat dry with paper towels. Remove neck and giblets; set aside to make Giblet Gravy. Stuff and truss turkey. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Brush with oil. Insert meat thermometer in turkey thigh without touching bone. Spoon remaining stuffing into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole; cover with foil and refrigerate.

3. Roast turkey 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until thermometer registers 180°F, basting often and covering with foil to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Bake the covered casserole of stuffing alongside turkey during the last 30 minutes of roasting, adding an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken broth if stuffing is dry. Let turkey stand 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

4. Meanwhile, cook neck and giblets for Giblet Gravy (see recipe below). Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings from roast turkey for Giblet Gravy. Prepare gravy. Carve turkey, discarding skin. Serve turkey and stuffing with gravy. Makes 12 servings.

Giblet Gravy
4 cups water
1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
2 sprigs fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper, divided
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated skimmed milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1. Rinse turkey neck and giblets. Refrigerate the liver. Combine remaining giblets, neck and the 4 cups water in a large saucepan. Add onion, carrot, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 40 minutes. Add liver. Continue cooking 20 minutes more or until tender. Strain broth, reserving 1 1/3 cups. Reserve giblets and neck; discard vegetables. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from neck; discard neck bones. Finely chop the neck meat and giblets; set aside.

2. Whisk together reserved pan drippings, evaporated skimmed milk, flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Add reserved broth. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Cook and whisk 2 minutes more or until thickened. Stir in neck meat and giblets; heat through. Makes 3 cups.

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