What are you waiting for? Jacob Richler’s 4-step recipe for roast turkey will produce the beautiful bird of your Thanksgiving dreams.
Jacob Richler’s Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing
1 primo turkey – 16 pounds is good for 10
3-5 lb turkey necks and or wings
1 lb thinly sliced bacon,
3 x 150 grams chestnuts Note: Buy peeled bags and save your hands.
2 stalks celery
3 yellow onions
2 cloves garlic
Herbs: sage, thyme, parsley
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup good quality breadcrumbs
1 – To prep bird
If there’s time, brine it (see recipe below) – but only overnight (not for 24 hours). And then dry it in the fridge. Otherwise, you can stuff it at last moment.
2 – Stuffing
For a 16-lb bird I used following:
Sweat 3 yellow onions (diced), 2 stalks celery (diced) and 2 cloves garlic (minced). Chill.
If you want to make it ahead leave out all dairy (incl. milk-soaked bread) until last moment.
This amount was perfect for a 16 lb bird. So for a 12 lb bird, 2 bags of chestnuts will suffice. The rest – including the baguette – can pretty much stay the same. You may need to squeeze out liquid a little harder and scale black on the dried breadcrumbs.
3 – Roasting
Stuff bird. Drape with bacon.
Combine 1 cup each:
Chicken (or turkey) stock
Small amount of garlic and herbs
Bring to a simmer.
Roast turkey at 300 F for 17-18 minutes per pound and not a second more. Let rest for at least 30 minutes. 45 better. Remove foil tent for final 90 minutes – at very minimum – i.e., 16-pound bird ggets2 ½ covered and 1 ½ uncovered. But it may take 2 hours to brown at 300F so better to take off foil a little earlier.
NOTE: Skip the foil and omit the bacon if you brined your bird.
4 – Gravy
A week or two in advance pick up 3-5 pounds turkey necks, wings, what have you.
Roast at 425F for 30 minutes. Add a few chopped onions. As it starts to brown, add some chopped carrot.
When it is golden brown, deglaze with white wine and transfer to a stockpot. Add customary aromatics.
Simmer for a few hours or overnight on simmering plate. Then boil to jus. Repeat with fresh water a few times – until all flavour and colour is extracted.
Combine, chill, and skim fat. Reduce and adjust seasonings. Freeze if necessary. If the bird that goes with it is not brined, combine deglazed strained pan drippings to the mix. Thicken with beurre manié – or corn starch, with butter to finish.
Adjust seasonings and add a few drops of gastrique or lemon juice.
2 cups salt
1½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup Dijon mustard (or seed)
2 tbsp. juniper berries, crushed
1 tsp. chilli flakes
1 tsp. cloves
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp. minced ginger
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme
4 L water
Combine all ingredients. Heat until salt and sugar dissolves, steep and cool. Submerge turkey if you can. Or flip it – but do most of the time breast down. 10 hours – overnight – is good for the whole bird. No more. No need to rinse. Just pat dry.
For a breast, 3-4 hours would likely do it.
n.b. Cooked at 325 F as per usual it does not need bacon on breast and hardly even needs to be covered.