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Connie DeSousa’s Deep-Fried Turkey with Spicy Red Azorean Stuffing


By Connie DeSousa

When I was growing up, my mom did all the day-to-day cooking and my dad did special occasions.

Being Roman Catholic, we’d celebrate with giant meals of turkey and stuffing at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. My mom is IrishCanadian. My father is Portuguese-born, from the Azores. My dad got the stuffing recipe from his mom—it’s been passed down through the generations—and we’ve had it at family occasions for as long as I can remember. I love that it uses all the bird innards: the heart, liver and kidneys. My dad would make stock with the neck to soak the bread for the stuffing. He also made a traditional fermented Portuguese pepper paste that turned the stuffing red. It’s just peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil. We buy 10 cases of shepherd peppers every year from the Okanagan and make it for the restaurant. We’ve been deep-frying the birds for about the past 10 years. If you’ve never had deep-fried turkey, once you do you’ll never go back. One tip: you don’t want to put the fryer too close to your house. We almost burned our house down once. So it is pretty dangerous and you should follow the instructions to a T! —C.S.

From Canada’s 100 Best Cooking Issue 2016

1 Large family

  • 450 g (1 lb) kosher salt
  • 450 g (1 lb) granulated sugar
  • 4 lemons, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 top-quality turkey, about 7 kg (15 lb)
  • 10-15 l (10-15 quarts) canola or peanut oil


  • 1 loaf day-old white bread, crusts removed, cubed
  • 2 Portuguese chouriço (about 1 lb)
  • 1 batch turkey giblets (gizzard, heart and liver)
  • 100 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 30 g (1 oz) pimenta moida (Portuguese red pepper sauce)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Portuguese green olives, sliced
  • 125 ml (½ cup) chopped parsley
  • 30 g (1 oz) tomato paste
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, juice only

METHODIn a large non-reactive container large enough to generously accommodate your turkey, combine salt and sugar with 5 l (5 q) hot water and stir until all crystals are dissolved. Add 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) ice and stir until mixture is cool and ice largely dissolved. Add lemons, garlic and thyme. Rinse turkey and submerge in the brine, then transfer to refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours.

Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cold running water. Discard brine. Pat turkey dry inside and out, then set aside on counter for 45 minutes, minimum. Following manufacturer’s instruction for minimum and maximum levels, pour oil into turkey fryer and heat to 120°C (250°F). Carefully submerge the turkey in the hot oil. Then slowly raise heat until oil reaches 180°C ( 350°F).

Cook bird until bronzed and the internal temperature reaches 68°C (155°F)—about 1 hour. Then transfer to a rack to drain and rest until internal temperature reaches 75°C (165°F). Meanwhile, transfer bread to a bowl. Cover with hot water and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Gently squeeze water from the bread, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 l (2 quarts) water to a boil on high heat, then lower to a simmer. Add chouriço and giblets and poach until tender— about 15 minutes.

Drain, let cool slightly, dice and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat, then add onions, and sauté until golden. Incorporate pimento moida, then add chouriço and giblets. Sauté for three minutes, then stir in olives, parsley and tomato paste. Lower heat, and gently stir in the bread. Remove pan from heat and stir in the egg yolks and finally the lemon juice. Transfer mixture to a casserole. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F), and bake for 20 minutes

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