Roast Turkey Stuffed with Apple Sage Stuffing

Temps des Fêtes 2007
food and drink

BY: Lucy Waverman

Buy the best turkey you can afford. Number One is a free-range organic turkey, a kosher turkey (they are already brined) or at least a fresh, air-chilled bird. All are better tasting and easier to handle than frozen birds. You can add the following ingredients into the stuffing to taste: canned chestnuts, dried cranberries, chopped prunes or apricots, chopped celery or 8 oz (250 g) uncooked sausage meat from chicken or pork sausages.

¼ cup (50 mL) butter
2 cups (500 mL) chopped onions
2 cups (500 mL) peeled diced apple
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh sage
5 cups (1.25 L) cubed egg bread cut in ½-inch (1-cm) cubes
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped parsley
1 egg
½ cup (125 mL) apple juice or more
Salt and freshly ground pepper

One 14 lb (6.5 kg) turkey
¼ cup (50 mL) room-temperature butter

1. For stuffing, heat ¼ cup (50 mL) butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 1 minute. Add apples and sauté until apples take some colour, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in sage and cook 1 minute longer.

2. Remove from heat and scrape into a bowl. Add bread and parsley and stir together. When stuffing is cool, stir in egg and apple juice, season with salt and pepper. Stuffing should be slightly moist. Stuff into cavity of turkey right before roasting.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

4. Loosen skin gently from turkey breast with your fingertips and stuff a little butter under the skin. It will baste the white meat. Spread remaining butter all over the bird and season with salt and pepper.

5. Truss the turkey (see Turkey Tips below) and place on a rack. Roast for 1 hour basting once. Turn heat down to 375°F (190°C) and roast another hour and 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 155°F (68°C) at the thickest part of the thigh. Baste a few times if you remember.

6. Let bird rest on a carving board for 20 minutes while you make the gravy.

Turkey Tips:

Size of Bird
Before preparing the bird, check its size to make sure it will go in your oven. A 14 lb (6.25 kg) bird generally fits in all ovens but some of the really big ones need bigger ovens.

Unwrap turkey from paper and plastic. Place on a baking sheet and set in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Cover with a tea towel.

Trussing the Bird
Trussing helps the turkey roast more evenly by protecting the breast. It also preserves the shape after cooking and keeps the stuffing from falling out. Truss after stuffing the bird.
To truss, tie the legs together with kitchen string. Bend each wing tip under the wing to keep the wing close to the body. If there are no wing tips, loop a string around one wing and go under the bird to loop it onto the other wing. Pull together. If the bird is stuffed, use a metal skewer to close the cavity or sew cavity closed with a trussing needle and string.

Roast the bird on a rack in a roasting pan or broiler pan. Even a foil pan will work. This allows the air to circulate and brown underneath as well as on top.

Let bird rest on a carving board for 15 to 20 minutes to let the juices retract—this will produce a juicy bird that is easier to carve.

Find the joints on each side where the leg is attached to the body. With a sharp knife slice down between joint removing the leg and thigh in one piece. Cut down through leg joint between leg and thigh to separate. Remove wing tips and discard. Carve the breasts in long thin slices. Place everything on a platter and decorate the platter with fresh herbs, cranberries or other edible ingredients on hand. Frisée looks pretty, as does arugula.

Serves 8 to 10

Easy Pan Gravy

Fat and pan drippings from Roast Turkey
3 tbsp (45 mL) flour
3 cups (750 mL) turkey or chicken stock
¼ cup (50 mL) port
1 tbsp (15 mL) redcurrant jelly
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Drain fat and pan drippings into a measuring cup. Add ¼ cup (50 mL) fat back into roasting pan. Skim fat from remaining drippings.

2. Sprinkle flour over fat in roasting pan. Stir together over medium heat until flour is browned.

3. Stir in stock, any drippings and port. Bring to boil, stirring, scraping up any bits on the base and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened and smooth. Stir in redcurrant jelly and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Makes about 4 cups (1 L)

What to Serve