Last year was the first time that I had ever cooked a turkey or hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. I spent the entire week beforehand prepping, cooking, cleaning. Needless to say, it was a LOT of work. So, this year, while we are hosting Thanksgiving again, we're doing it more of a potluck style. However, after the rave reviews from last year, I will be making my turkey, gravy, and stuffing again. While I'm hesitant to share my recipes since I don't want everyone in the world making MY turkey, who am I to keep it from you? Besides, I got it off the Internet and everything is better when shared with friends, right?
Turn turkey naysayers into turkey lovers with this Cider-Brined and Glazed Turkey from Bon Appetit, November 2005.
4 quarts apple cider, divided
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup whole allspice
8 bay leaves
4 quarts cold water
1 20-pound turkey (neck and gizzard reserved)
Simmer 1 quart apple cider, salt, allspice, and bay leaves in 20-quart pot 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool completely. Add remaining 3 quarts cider and 4 quarts water. Place turkey in brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.Drain turkey and rinse. Arrange on several layers of paper towels in roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
Boil cider in saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Whisk in butter. Cool completely.Set rack at lowest position in oven; preheat to 350°F. Remove paper towels from roasting pan. Pat main and neck cavities of turkey dry; stuff loosely with stuffing. Place turkey in pan, tuck wings under, and tie legs together loosely. Roast turkey 1 hour. Brush with some of glaze. Roast until beginning to brown, about 1 hour. Cover with foil. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, brushing with glaze every 30 minutes and adding up to 1 cup water to pan if drippings begin to burn, about 3 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes.
Pour pan juices into large measuring cup. Spoon off fat. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and degreased juices. Pour sage broth into roasting pan. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Combine flour, sage leaves, and reserved 3 tablespoons fat in heavy large saucepan; stir over medium heat 1 minute. Whisk in broth from roasting pan and reserved pan juices. Add applejack and cream and boil until gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain into sauceboat. Serve turkey with gravy.
Also a Bon Appetit recipe (November 2003) is my family-award-winning Italian Sausage and Parmesan Cheese stuffing. I changed it up quite a bit, though.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian HOT sausages, casings removed (do yourself a favor and just buy the ground sausage)
3 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bread is dry, about 15 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool. Maintain oven temperature.
Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and sauté 5 minutes, breaking up with back of fork. Saute until cooked through. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage mixture to bowl with bread cubes. Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Add onions and next 4 ingredients; sauté until onions and celery are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add onion mixture to bread cubes. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Mix eggs and broth into stuffing; transfer to baking dish. Cover dish with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake until top begins to brown, about 20 minutes.