This is a serious turkey recipe. A real seasonal showstopper that epitomizes Autumn. It’s complete with apples, apple juice, apple jelly, hearty corn bread stuffing, thick slices of bacon—-the whole nine yards.
It’s a switch from most of the offerings I’ve included in this culinary alphabet (of sorts). I tend to stick with quick and easy recipes that I can make on a tight budget, but I figured that most home cooks don’t make it through an entire fall without cooking at least one turkey dish, so I might as well step up and provide a recipe worth your time and effort.
This recipe for Turkey and Autumn Stuffing never yields leftovers in my home (regardless of the size of bird I buy). It’s moist, juicy and loaded with flavors of the season. Depending on what traditions you keep you could cook it for Thanksgiving, though we tend to use it as the centerpiece for Sunday night dinners this time of year.
TURKEY AND AUTUMN STUFFING
1/4 cup White balsamic vinegar
1 16-18 pound turkey, thawed
4 cups chopped onions
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped dried apples
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup honey
6 cups toasted pecans, chopped
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) low-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces bacon cut into 1/2 pieces
1 teaspoon sage
1 package (16 oz.) cornbread stuffing mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup apple jelly
1 cup apple juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Set bacon aside. Add onion and celery to drippings. Cook on medium-high heat 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.
Combine bacon, onion mixture, apples, pecans, thyme and sage. Stir in stuffing mix. Stir in 2 ½ cups of broth and butter. Set 7 cups of stuffing aside for stuffing turkey. Spoon remaining stuffing into 1-1/2 quart baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake covered 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine jelly, juice, vinegar, honey and salt in small, heavy saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1-1/4 cups, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1/4-cup mixture for gravy. Set remaining mixture aside for basting turkey.
Remove neck and giblets from body and neck cavities of turkey.
Drain juices from turkey. Pat dry with paper towels.
Fill neck cavity with part of the stuffing. Fill body cavity with remaining stuffing.
Place turkey, breast up, on flat roasting rack in shallow roasting pan. Spray turkey with cooking spray. Place small pieces of aluminum foil over skin of neck cavity and over stuffing at body cavity opening to prevent over browning during roasting.
Brush turkey with some glaze mixture. Loosely cover breast and tops of drumsticks with aluminum foil to prevent overcooking. Bake 2 hours.
Uncover turkey breast and brush turkey with additional glaze mixture. Return foil to top of turkey and continue roasting until meat thermometer inserted deep in thigh reaches 180 degrees. Let turkey stand 15 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.
Pour drippings into pan and skim fat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add broth, reserved glaze mixture and enough water or broth to make 3-1/2 cups. Heat on low, stirring constantly.