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Roasted Turkey with Cornbread and Smoked Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing

  

 
Roasted Turkey with Cornbread and Smoked Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Dana Calicchio
Recommended tools: Meat Thermometer and Cheesecloth
 
When it comes to making a full Roasted Turkey, most people shy away from even contemplating the task.
The main reason, I feel, is FEAR!
Fear of overcooking, Fear of being shamed, Fear of Failure!
Cooking a turkey is no harder than roasting a chicken. It is just bigger and takes a few hours more to cook. I have never had to get up
At 3 a.m. to start the turkey. And I stuff my turkey without fear of poisoning my guests. I add the stuffing right before I pop it
in the oven so there is no time for bacteria to form. The secret to any successful meal is to plan by starting at the end.
Decide what time you want your meal to be served. Then plan on how long your main dish needs to cook and allow time for the
prep, resting, making gravy from the drippings, then carving and serving.
Work backwards to get to the starting line.
If I have a 15 pound turkey and I want to serve dinner at 5 and it needs 3 hours to cook and around ½ hour to rest and make gravy and carve (cook at 15 minutes per pound is the rule of thumb)
 I need to get the turkey in the oven by 1 or 1:30 p.m. the latest. But also I need to allow an hour to make the stuffing,
so I need to start cooking by noon. Also as you can see if you stuff a bird it takes around a half hour more to cook.
If you do not want to stuff your bird, but want stuffing, you can put it in a baking dish and bake for the last hour of the Turkeys cooking.
 I do the side dishes as I go once the Turkey is in the oven. Cranberry sauce, peel potatoes, make
Casseroles or veggies, and if I didn’t make any desserts the day before, that is in the mix too.

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I cook my Turkey at 350 degrees and leave room in the oven for other foods that need to fit in there if I can. (350° is a good temperature for most foods. Your cooking times can vary with what you are cooking so food stays hot. Use Slow cookers or Instant pots to hold other foods warm too if you have to. You may need to cook pies or other dishes before the turkey goes in. This is something you need to take into consideration when planning your meal)
When the turkey gets out of the oven, I cover it with aluminum Foil and place thick clean towels over it if I am not ready to carve and serve.
This gives you time to finish everything else and keep it hot without drying it out.
Below is a cooking chart for cooking your turkey. The largest turkey I have ever cooked was 35 pounds. I put it in the oven at 9 a.m. and it was done by 5 P.M.
My point is don’t give into fear. Plan your meal instead. It’s like the saying goes, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
With that said, I like to do a simple brine of salt and water the night before the turkey. I will place a large never before used garbage bag in my large stock pot or another vessel that will be able to hold my big bird and water. I have used coolers, boxes, 5 gallon paint pails.
Just make sure it can fit in your refrigerator.  I place the bag inside, then place the thawed bird inside the bag with the neck and insides out of all the cavities. Check the neck area and breast cavity. Use those insides for your stock. Cover bird with cold water and pace a cup of salt into water. Tighten and close bag and place container in fridge. At least 1 hr to 24 hours before cooking. Remove bird and rinse well.
 
 
 
I LOVE TURKEY.
I love the smells as it cooks. And I LOVE turkey when it tastes like Turkey and not seasonings. There is nothing better
Then biting into a moist piece of turkey that tastes like turkey. And my turkeys are never dry
The Bouqs 728x90
 
          STOCK FOR STUFFING AND GRAVY
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, cleaned and diced
  • 1 turkey neck , heart, liver, stomach that are inside the turkey
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 TBS salt
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1tsp black pepper
  •  STUFFING
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 apple peeled , cored and diced
  • 1 1/2 lb. smoked sausage cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 package cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter for stuffing
  • 2 eggs beaten
  •  TURKEY
  • 10 to 30 pound Turkey, thawed or fresh
  • 4 Tbs Unsalted butter for under Turkey Skin
  • Cheesecloth
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic powder
Make Stock: In a large pot place first 7 ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes or until celery and onion are soft.
Make Stuffing: Place the 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Strain celery and onions from broth and place in bowl and mix WELL so egg doesn’t scramble.
Add enough broth a cup at a time to bind stuffing together. You do want to dry or too wet.
Prepare Turkey: I put 2 TBS of butter under each side of breast skin to moisten meat. I take the end of a long wooden spoon or a chop stick and shove between skin and meat to make a tunnel on each side of top breast.
Cut butter into 2 strips and place in tunnel pushing all the way to back then place second piece in tunnel. (This is how a butterball turkey is made NATURALLY WITHOUT PRESERVATIVES OR FAT)
Sprinkle with salt pepper and garlic powder.
Place a large piece of cheesecloth in cavity of bird WITH ENDS ON OUTSIDE. You are making a sack filled with stuffing. Do this inside the bird not outside.
Fill with stuffing and tie up cheese cloth. This will make it easy to remove all stuffing with a clean cavity, but still add flavor to bird and stock for gravy.
Place bird on rack or turkey bag. (If using a turkey bag use the recommended times as the bag cooks it faster but your turkey will no be picture perfect. Take that into consideration if you use a cooking bag.)
Add 1 cup of stock on bottom of pan or inside bag.
Cook at 350° until thigh temperature reads 175 degrees.  If you check breast temperature at 165, thighs may not be cooked all the way through, so always check the thigh between the thigh, breast, and leg corner. The juices should run clear and not cloudy. And the leg should be easily pulling apart when you tug on it. The little red pop ups are ok, but they usually overcook the bird, so don’t always go by that.
If you follow these instructions it should turn out great. Many people have followed these instructions for years and always had a perfect Turkey.
I hope this helps you achieve a great meal.
Please email me at info@inthekitchenwithdana.com and let me know how your Turkey came out. I would love to know and share your experience with others.
 
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