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Roast Turkey with Mushroom Stuffing

Serves: Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 turkey (about 12 pounds), preferably organic
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium onions (about 12 ounces), cut into 1-inch dice
  • 10 garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • Stuffing:
  • ¾ cup (about ¾ ounce) dried mushroom pieces, preferably chanterelles or morels
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 to 2 pale inner celery stalks, chopped (½ cup)
  • ½ teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped (2 teaspoons)
  • 6 slices sprouted-wheat bread (whole wheat bread made with wheat kernels; about 7 ounces)
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon potato starch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce


Procedures:

On holidays, I like to serve a small roast turkey with a whole wheat-bread stuffing, which I make while the bird roasts. The stuffing is flavored with golden raisins and dried mushrooms and moistened with the mushroom-soaking liquid.

For the turkey: Place the turkey neck, gizzard, and heart in a saucepan with the water (reserve the liver for another use) and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Remove the turkey parts from the cooking liquid and reserve the liquid. (You should have about 1½ cups.) When it is cool enough, pull the meat from the neck bones. Cut the meat, gizzard, and heart into ¼-inch dice. Reserve.

Sprinkle the turkey inside and out with the salt and pepper. Place it breast side up in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.

Using pot holders, turn the turkey breast side down. Arrange the onions and garlic cloves around it. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, return the turkey to the oven, and cook for 1½ hours.

Add the reserved cooking liquid to the roasting pan, turn the turkey breast side up, and continue cooking for 30 minutes longer to brown the breast. Turn the oven off, transfer the turkey to an ovenproof platter, and return it to the warm oven to rest. Set the roasting pan aside.

While the turkey is cooking, make the stuffing: Soak the mushrooms in the warm water in a bowl for at least 30 minutes, until softened.

Lift out the mushrooms, squeezing the excess liquid back into the bowl, and coarsely chop them. Set the mushrooms and soaking liquid aside separately.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet until hot. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the herbes de Provence, garlic, and mushrooms, mix well, and remove from the heat. Toast the bread slices well. Cut them into ⅜-inch croutons. (You should have 3 cups.) Stir the croutons and raisins into the onion mixture.

Pour the reserved mushroom-soaking liquid into a measuring cup, leaving behind the sandy residue in the bottom of the bowl. (You should have about ¾ cup.) Add the soaking liquid, salt, and pepper to the onion mixture and toss gently to combine. Pack lightly into a loaf pan and cover with aluminum foil.

About 45 minutes before the turkey is done, put the loaf of stuffing in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then keep warm in a warm spot or in the turned-off oven.

While the turkey rests, make the gravy: Push the cooking juices and vegetable from the roasting pan through a sieve or a food mill into a saucepan. Let rest for 4 to 5 minutes, until most of the fat has risen to the top, then skim off as much of it as possible. (You should have approximately 2 cups cooking juices.)

Add the diced neck, gizzard, and heart to the cooking juices, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Stir in the dissolved potato starch and soy sauce until smooth. Pour into a sauceboat or serving bowl.

Carve the turkey and serve it with the gravy and stuffing.

by Jacques Pépin

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