I know, I know, I should probably be more on top of my blogging and not be talking about my turkey over a week after the fact, but if you think about it, I'm actually ahead of the curve for American Thanksgiving and Christmas, and of course this will be a great reference for me for future Thanksgivings... I am very selfish when it comes to this blog, really.
Like last year's turkey, this one was a riff off of this recipe, which I like because it doesn't use actual stuffing (therefore pleasing my family) but I dislike because it involves brining it overnight and flipping the bird (hehe!) and perhaps if I did those things the breast meat of my turkey wouldn't be so dry, but I'm not going to relent. I might buy a turkey baster next year/for Christmas though.
I didn't change the "stuffing" much - it was just chopped carrots, onion and celery. The recipe called for thyme and a bay leaf, but I didn't want to be stuck with a big bunch of thyme, so I bought a pack of "poultry mix" instead, which was still mostly thyme, but also had rosemary and sage.
Instead of brining the turkey, I took the defrosted turkey out of its packaging the day of, retrieved the bag of giblets from the neck cavity and set it aside (don't throw it out!), rinsed it and patted it dry with paper towels, then gave it the old rubdown with salt, pepper and a lightly crushed clove of garlic, then brushed it with some melted margarine (I know I could've used butter, but there was just the right amount of margarine in the tub...) before stuffing it with the half of the veggies and some of the herbs.
Then a technique I learned from a roast chicken recipe - you wiggle your finger under the skin of the breast to loosen it up and create a space, then stuff in a sprig or two of herbs. Do this for both sides and the thighs as well.
Line the pan with the other half of the veggies and more herbs and pour a cup of white wine over top (another reason I like this recipe). The wine that I used this year and I go waaaay back...
Actually, now that it's been over a week and nobody's displayed any signs/symptoms of food poisoning, I'm not afraid to tell you that I'm pretty sure I bought this bottle of wine last Thanksgiving for the turkey I made then...
Place the stuffed turkey on a roasting rack placed in the pan, and now you're ready to go!
The work doesn't end here - now you get to play with the bag of giblets! You may need the stock that you'll be making with it to make your gravy later on, though in my case this year, we had enough pan drippings to do the trick (because we didn't baste!) As I explained to Vlad, homemade gravy is not that much harder to make than store-bought gravy and is generally less salty and processed than its powdered counterpart (though admittedly, fat content is another story) and because you are using the same ingredients that you did with your turkey, the flavours will match better.
Usually your turkey giblets will consist of a neck (which produces tasty, tasty meat, as demonstrated to me by a former roommate of mine), heart, and liver.
I used the same types of vegetables in the stock as I did for the turkey, except you don't need to chop them so finely - just halve everything. This will make it easier to fish the veggies out of your stock when it's done.
Once you've got your stock simmering on the stove, use the time to prep your sides and check on your turkey occasionally. If you have a baster, baste every half hour or so, if not, just check on the turkey about ⅔ of the way, brush again with your melted butter/margarine then cover it loosely with foil so you don't burn the poor thing. When it's around the time that it's supposed to be finished, jab a meat thermometer into the turkey's thigh and into the stuffing - if it reads 185°F (85°C) and 165°F (74°C), respectively, then your turkey is ready! Remove the turkey from the pan so that you can get at the pan drippings for the gravy, then let it rest for about half an hour or so, so that everyone can admire it before carving.
And now for the gravy! I don't know why my mom insisted that I make it in a non-stick wok - maybe she thought it would help it thicken faster, but the downside is that you can't use a metal whisk on a non-stick wok! My gravy looked a little lumpy, but in the end I ended up whisking it in a bowl and everything was ok.
Turkey that Vincci's Family Likes (including Giblet Stock and Gravy)
Adapted from AllRecipes
Makes a ~6 kg (~13 lb) turkey, about 1L of stock and about 2-3 cups gravy
Turkey with vegetable stuffing:
- 1 × ~6 kg (~13 lb) turkey, neck and giblets removed
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 125 mL (½ cup) butter or margarine, melted
- 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- ⅔ package of "Poultry Mix" herbs
- 250 mL (1 cup) dry white wine
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
- Neck and giblets from turkey
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved crosswise
- 2 stalks celery, halved crosswise
- ⅓ package of "Poultry Mix" herbs
- Water to cover
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pan drippings from roasted turkey
- 85 mL (⅓ cup) flour
- (Optional) Giblet stock
Turkey with vegetable stuffing:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Rub turkey inside and out with salt, black pepper and garlic cloves. Brush turkey with ½ of the melted butter/margarine. Stuff turkey with ½ of the chopped onions, carrots, celery and herbs, minus a few sprigs. Wiggle your finger under the skin of one turkey breast to create a space and insert a sprig or two of herbs inside. Repeat with other turkey breast and with thighs.
- In a shallow roasting pan, scatter the rest of the vegetables and herbs and cover with white wine. Place turkey breast side up on top of a roasting rack in pan.
- Roast for about 3½ to 4 hours in preheated oven, basting every half hour with pan drippings (optional). At about ⅔ through the roasting time, brush turkey with the remaining butter/margarine, then cover loosely with foil. The turkey is ready when the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 185°F (85°C). Remove turkey from oven and pan and let stand 30 minutes before carving.
- While turkey is in the oven, brown giblets in vegetable oil over medium heat. Add vegetables and herbs into pot and cover with water.
- Bring water to a boil, then set heat to low. Allow stock to simmer for at least 45 minutes and season to taste.
- Pour pan drippings (without solids) into fat separator before pouring into small saucepan on low-medium heat. Whisk in flour and heat until desired consistency reached. You may need to add more flour (if not thick enough) or more stock (if there isn't enough gravy or if it is too thick).