Roast turkey and traditional stuffing – Simple yet devine recipe for your perfect holiday feast

Whether it’s thanksgiving or christmas, roast turkey is a traditional food item that symbolizes home, coziness, family time, warmth and the fuzzy feeling in your heart that you get thinking back to when you have shared this meal with your loved ones. So everything I want this blog to stand for. If what I described above is what you are searching for, then you will enjoy this recipe. They say, never change a winning team. That is why this recipe is all about traditional ingredients and simple foolproof, tried and tested methods to roast your turkey with perfect results.

This recipe cooks the turkey with the stuffing inside instead of serving it extra. The benefit for the taste of the stuffing is just incredible. The juices from the turkey drizzle into the filling while it cooks in the oven and it’s just magic in terms of the favor this adds. Yes, it does increase your cooking time and thus means you have to get up early that holiday morning, but it’s worth it.

Kitchen items you for preparing this dish

  • Roasting pan large enough for your turkey
  • Knife to cut the celery, onions, garlic etc
  • Cutting board
  • 1 pan
  • A small bowl to mix the spices and butter for the rub
  • A large bowl to mix the stuffing
  • Optional: Thermometer to measure the turkey meat temperature

Preparing the turkey

Ingredients to prepare the turkey for the oven

  • 1/4 lbs (125 grams) of butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried estragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosmary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic gloves

First use wash the turkey in the sink and use a (paper) towel to dry the bird This is important to remove any bacteria from the skin of the turkey. The place the bird in the roasting pan. And lay the cut up onions and garlic cloves in the pan as well as they will add great taste to the gravy.

Next mix all the ingredients listed above in a bowl and then rub it on the entire turkey using your hands or a spoon or a spatula. I prefer simply using my hands as to me it is the easist and most thorough way to get the job done.

Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs of butter
  • 14 ounces (400 grams) of bread croutons or diced up ciabatta bread
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of granutaled garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried sage

This yields to enough stuffing to fill the turkey and to have a side casserole of stuffing. I always have an extra casserole with stuffing as it’s super tasty and people love it. It’s a real crowd pleaser, besides being quite simple in terms of what it actually is. Simply slide the side dish casserole into the oven underneath the rack the turkey sits on, when you take the tin foil off 45 min before it done. This is the time the casserole needs to be done as well.

Start by cutting the 2 stalks of celery and onion into small dices and place them in a large bowl with the bread croutons/dices. Then add all the spices and mix everything. Next, melt the butter in a pan and pour it over the celery and croutons and whisk everything well. Aaaand your stuffing is done.

Use a spoon to scoop the stuffing into the turkey. Pour all the remaining filling into a casserole dish and set it aside. Before putting the stuffing casserole in the oven, pour 1.5 cups of chicken broth over it.

Avoid turkey drama

A lot of people become nervous thinking about the stress of preparing a huge turkey. It doesn’t have to be like that though. The stress related to this is usually coming down to the following reasons: A) You didn’t calculate the roasting time ahead of time and now realized it will be an extremely tight schedule to serve the turkey on time (leading you to temper with the baking temperature to speed up the process… bad idea). B) You bought a frozen turkey and it is still solid when you wake up in the morning of the big day (check out my post on how to solve this emergency last minute). C) You overdid your meal plan, which is usually due to having to many demanding side dishes planned or having side dishes that need their own oven time and temperature. Given that most normal kitchens only have one oven, this creates stress for the host. Your solution to this, choose side dishes that you can prepare in a pan or pot and let it rest in the oven with the remaining heat after you took the turkey out to keep it warm. The turkey needs to rest for 20-30 min before serving to let any excess moisture be releaved, while you prepare the gravy. Thereby you avoid having to multitask.

Regarding the cooking time disaster, described in A)…

Calculate the cooking time

Calculating the roasting time for a turkey filled with stuffing: As a general rule of thumb, the turkey needs 15 min per lbs in the oven (e.g. 10 lbs = 3 hs 15 min, 20 lbs = 4 hs 45 min). After you take your turkey out of the oven, give it about 30 min to rest and allow all excess fluid to exit the bird. That means, if you want to serve your meal at 1pm and you have a 16 lbs turkey (the most widely used weight for thanksgiving for example), you need 45 min for turkey preparation (rubbing and stuffing preparation), 4 hours in the oven, plus 30 min rest time. This means you need a full 5 hours 15 min. So you nees to start preparing the rub at 7.45 am and have the turkey in the oven by 8.30 am.

Cooking temperature and roasting method

The perfect roast turkey is both juicy and tender (as opposed to tough and dry). For that it is quintessential to make sure the skin is crisp enough to keep the moisture within the bird, but to also make sure to not use too high of a temperature in the oven. Therefore pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius and only put the turkey into the oven when it has reached that heat. Then roast the turkey until the turkey skin has reached a golden state. Depending on the size of your bird this will be the case after 45 min to 1 hour.

Next, cover your turkey with tin foil. Thereby you prevent the turkey skin from turning into dark brown during the long hours in the oven and you keep the moisture in the bird and avoid the meat drying out.

45 min before the turkey is done, take off the tin foil and let the roast cook uncovered so the skin gets nice and crispy without getting burned. This is also a great moment to check the meat temperature as the oven is already open. You need to make sure both the meat and the stuffing reach at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit/75 degrees Celsius to be safe for consumption. After you did that, don’t forget to slide the casserole with the stuffing into the oven.

When the oven time is up, take the turkey out and let it rest for 20-30 min (depending on the size) to allow extra fluid to exit that usually builds up under the crispy skin (and is actually a sign for good quality meat). A way to enhance it, is to poke the skin on the sides. Don’t worry about the meat getting cold, as the skin prevent the heat from getting out.

The gravy

Ingredients

  • Turkey dripping
  • 1 cup (225 ml) of water
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) of flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

After the 20-30 min, transfer the turkey onto a serving plate and pour the excess fluid through a sief into a pot. This is the base for you gravy. Bring the pot to medium heat, add the water and drizzle the flour into the sauce to thicken it up while stiring. This should take approx. 5 min. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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