Turkey Dinner

Bacon-Roasted Turkey with Sweet-Onion Gravy

On November 28, we will be celebrating that food-filled holiday of giving thanks for all the blessings God has bestowed upon us ..... Thanksgiving. The next three issues will be devoted to that day. We are starting with the main staples: turkey, gravy, potatoes, and stuffing. Next week we will feature some tasty side dishes, then for the third week, desserts.

Bacon-Roasted Turkey with Sweet-Onion Gravy

Active Time: 1 HR

Total Time: 5 HR

Yield: Serves 10


1/2 pound bacon (not too lean), chopped

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1-1/2 tablespoons thyme leaves, plus 1 thyme sprig

Salt and freshly ground pepper

One 16- to 18-pound turkey, giblets (liver, gizzard and heart)

6 celery ribs, coarsely chopped

4 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 large white onions, chopped

1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalias, Spanish Sweets, thinly sliced

1 large garlic clove, smashed

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth


Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, combine the bacon, parsley, thyme leaves, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper; process to a paste.

Using your fingers, gently separate the turkey skin from the breast and legs. Season the turkey cavities with salt and pepper. Carefully spread the bacon paste under the loosened skin and press gently on the outside of the skin to evenly distribute. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper and tie the legs together tightly with kitchen string.

Scatter the celery, carrots and white onions in a large roasting pan and set the turkey on top. Tightly cover the bird with 2 sheets of oiled foil and roast on the lowest rack of the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the foil and continue to roast for 1 hour, or until the turkey is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 170°. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes or for up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, strain the pan juices into a bowl. Skim off the fat; pour 1/4 cup of the fat into a large, deep skillet. Add the sweet onion and thyme sprig and cook over moderately high heat until the onion is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, then stir in the flour. Gradually add the stock, whisking constantly, until smooth. Whisk in the reserved pan juices and simmer the gravy over low heat, whisking often, until no floury taste remains, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme and garlic. Season the gravy with salt and pepper and transfer to a warmed gravy boat.

Cut the string from the turkey legs and carve the bird. Serve with the onion gravy.

Make Ahead: The turkey can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring the bird to room temperature before roasting.


Tortilla Chip-Chorizo Stuffing

Total: 1 hr 25 min

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 1 hr

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


9 T unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish

12 oz. dried chorizo, chopped

4 bunches scallions, chopped

4 (4-oz.) cans chopped green chiles, drained

2 tsp. ground cumin

3 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken broth

2 large eggs

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

1 (13-oz.) bag corn tortilla chips, coarsely crushed

8 c. stale white bread cubes

2 c. cubed queso fresco cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 c. dried cranberries, opt.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish. Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the chorizo, scallions, chiles and cumin and cook, stirring, until the chorizo is slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer.

Whisk the eggs and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the tortilla chips, bread and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour in the chorizo-broth mixture and toss to combine. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish; dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until golden, about 30 more minutes.

Cook’s Note: If you’re using fresh bread, dry the cubes in a 300 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.


Bread Stuffing

3/4 c. finely chopped onion

1-1/2 c. chopped celery (with leaves

1 cup margarine or butter

9 c. soft bread cubes

2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tsp. dried sage leaves

1 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp. pepper


Cook and stir onion and celery in margarine in 10-inch skillet until onion is tender. Stir in about 1/3 of the bread cubes. Turn into deep bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss. Stuff turkey just before roasting. Makes 9 cups stuffing, enough for a 12 pound turkey.


Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


3 lb. potatoes (about 4 large, combo of russets and Yukon Golds)

Kosher salt

1 stick butter, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. sour cream

Freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until totally soft, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter and milk until warm.

Pour over warm milk-butter mixture and stir until completely combined and creamy. Add sour cream and stir until combined.

Season mashed potatoes generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl and top with remaining two tablespoons butter. Season with more pepper before serving.


Turkey Tips:

Here’s What You Should Do with Your Turkey Immediately After Dinner

1. Have a game plan. The first thing you have to ask yourself, before you even touch the turkey, is what you plan to do with it. Does everyone just pick the meat off for sandwiches? Do you want to make soup or stock with the bones? Do you want to save some of the meat for a future recipe? Think this through, as your plans for the leftover turkey will dictate how you take it apart.

2. Don’t wait! Take it apart right after dinner. You’re probably in a post-dinner food coma when the meal ends, but just take care of this now, or better yet, find a willing helper who can do it. You probably already have a cutting board and carving knife out that has turkey bits on it anyway, so if you take apart the turkey now, you only have to wash everything once.

Taking it apart also means it will take up less space in your refrigerator. If the carcass is too big to fit into your stockpot, break it apart into more manageable pieces.

3. Pack bones and meat separately. Once the meat is picked off the bones, package it up. If you want to set aside one pound of meat for soup, weigh it out, throw it into a container, and label it so no one accidentally turns it into a sandwich. Package up white meat and dark meat separately so people can easily find what they want, and you can even pre-slice the turkey if the, ahem, lazier of the hungry guests will only eat it if it’s already cut up. Store in the fridge or freezer, but make sure it’s properly labeled first.

4. Make stock while you wash the dishes. As for the bones, just turn it into stock now! You probably have extra carrots, onion, celery, and herbs, so just simmer it now and get it over with. Or bundle it into the slow cooker for an overnight simmer, or into the pressure cooker for an extra-fast, extra-good stock.

Not up to the task? Pack the bones away and stash in the fridge or freezer.

5. Find a few recipes and make a plan. If the thought of another turkey sandwich isn’t appealing to you, there are plenty of other delicious ways to use it up. You could try making turkey hash patties; turkey congee, with the bones and some meat; and turkey pot pie filling, which holds up quite well in the freezer.


Quote of the Week:

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313


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