Here’s a radical idea to consider this Thanksgiving day, said the editors of O magazine. “Don’t sweat it.” We’ve researched the least stressful, easiest holiday recipes, from a fast-roasting turkey to “a decadent stuffing.”
In this classic turkey recipe, the bird comes out moist and luscious after just about two and a half hours. Both the turkey recipe and the recipe for bacon-nut stuffing are adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (Wiley).
Classic Roast Turkey With Stuffing and Gravy
Created by Mark Bittman
One 12-lb turkey
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter at room temperature (extra-virgin olive oil may be substituted)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrot
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
Stems from 1 bunch parsley tied together
Sliced figs, for garnish
Mostarda di frutta (mustard-oil-preserved fruits), for garnish
Bacon-nut stuffing, may be cooked separately (see recipe)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Rinse turkey; remove and set aside giblets. If cooking stuffing inside turkey, loosely pack turkey cavity with stuffing, then tie legs together to enclose vent. Coat bird all over with butter (or brush with oil), then sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Put turkey on rack in large roasting pan. Add ½ cup water to bottom of pan along with turkey neck, gizzard, any other giblets, onion, carrot, celery, and parsley. Put in oven, legs first if possible.
Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top begins to brown, then turn heat down to 350 degrees. Continue to roast, checking and basting with pan juices every 30 minutes or so; if top threatens to brown too much, lay piece of aluminum foil directly onto it. (If bottom dries out, add water, about ½ cup at a time; keep at least a little liquid at bottom of pan at all times.)
Turkey is done when instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh measures 155 degrees to 165 degrees. If, when turkey is nearly done, top is not browned enough, turn heat back up to 425 degrees for last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking.
Remove turkey from oven. Take bird off rack and make gravy while bird rests; let sit for about 20 minutes before carving. Serve on platter garnished with sliced figs and mostarda di frutta, and with gravy on the side. Serves at least 15, plus leftovers.
1 lb slab or sliced bacon
4 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 cup dry white wine (chicken or vegetable stock, or water, may be substituted)
2 tsp chopped garlic
4 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup pine nuts
2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
If using slab bacon, cut into ½-inch cubes; if using sliced bacon, coarsely chop. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat, stirring or turning until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain (but leave fat in pan), dry, and crumble. Remove all but 3 tbsp fat from pan and, still over medium heat, cook onion, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine, bring to simmer; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, bread crumbs, pine nuts, thyme, bay leaves, bacon; remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 7 cups (enough for 12-lb bird). Pack into turkey if desired before roasting or bake in an ovenproof glass or enameled baking dish for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees to 400 degrees.
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