Meat Lovers, Starters & Sides
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Turkey Dinner with Sage Stuffing

Tips for Brining a Turkey:

For a super moist flavorful turkey I find a salt brine works wonderfully. I always order a fresh turkey, which works especially well, but surely a frozen and thawed in the refrigerator turkey would work well too.

I use a large plastic brining bag (in addition to a couple shopping bags as I am always worried about a leak). For a 7 kg (15 lb.) turkey, I combine a total of 4 1/2 liters of water with 3/4 cup table salt. In a medium bowl, first dissolve the salt in 1/3 of the water, making sure to use hot water. Once dissolved add the remaining cold water and stir to combine. Transfer turkey to the brining bag, along with the salt water. The turkey should be fully submerged in the brine and then marinated in the refrigerator overnight (for about 12 to 18 hours).

The next day, remove the turkey from the brine and discard the liquid. Rinse the inside of the turkey with cool water, as the remaining salt as too much residual salt may make the stuffing to salty. Now the turkey is almost ready for roasting. First, I give it a butter massage:

Sage Butter:
1. Mix together 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature) with 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves.

2. Slide your hand between the breast meat and the skin to separate the skin from the meat. Rub Slide butter under the skin, between the skin and the breast meat. Slide some of the butter down by the legs as well.

3. With your hands on the outside of the skin, massage the turkey with the remaining butter, distributing evenly.

Tips for Roasting a Turkey:

1. For a For a 7 kg (15 lb) turkey, roast, uncovered in a preheated oven at 480°F / 250°C for the first 30 minutes.

2. Remove the turkey and reduce oven heat to 160°C. Cover the turkey in aluminum foil and cook for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until a meat thermometer temperate, inserted in the deepest, fleshiest part of a thigh, reaches close to 70°C, remove the foil from the turkey and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, if you have a oven fan assisted setting, then cook the turkey for the last 15 minutes under the fan in order to crisp the skin.

A general of thumb is that you need 35-40 min, per kilo. Therefore, a 7-kg turkey would therefore need 4 to 4 1/2 hours cooking time. To play it safe, test with a meat thermometer. By the end of the cooking time the meat thermometer should register a temperature of 72 degrees, meaning the turkey is fully cooked.

3. Let the turkey rest, covered with foil for 20-30 minutes before carving. (This also gives you a chance to prepare the gravy and side dishes).

SAGE STUFFING
Active time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:
5-6 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from a 500 g loaf of white bread, crust removed)
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter (225 g)
2-3 small yellow onions, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
1 turkey liver, trimmed and finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
½ cup chicken broth (or a stock made from the turkey giblets)

METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C.

2. Spread all bread crumbs on a baking pan and bake in oven until dry, about 15 minutes.

3. Cool bread crumbs, then transfer to a large bowl and stir in parsley, sage, salt and pepper.

4. Melt butter in a large skillet over moderate heat, then add onions and liver and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with crumbs and toss well. Add stock and toss again.

5. Loosely fill the body cavity of the turkey with the stuffing. Transfer any remaining stuffing to a buttered baking dish and reserve it, covered and chilled. During the last hour of roasting your turkey, bake it, covered, in oven 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more.

6. Let the turkey stand for at 20-30 minutes before removing all stuffing.

TURKEY GIBLET STOCK
Yields 6 cups

INGREDIENTS:
turkey neck and giblets (excluding liver)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry white wine (240 ml)
4 cups water (1 l)
2 cups chicken broth (480 ml)
1 bay leaf

METHOD:
1. Pat neck and giblets dry. Heat olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot, brown neck and giblets, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and sauté, stirring occasionally until golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer at medium-low heat, uncovered, until liquid reduces by a quarter, about 30 minutes.

3. Pour stock through a large fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discard solids. Let stand until fat rises to top, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard any fat.

4. If not using stock right away, cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered, before skimming fat (it’s easier to remove fat when cool or cold).

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