Roast Turkey with Chestnut, Apple and Herb Dressing Recipe

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Roast Turkey with Chestnut, Apple and Herb Dressing

From Dorothy McNett's recipes at

For the stock:
giblets, neck, etc. from the turkey
1 onion, quartered or chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1-2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil, thyme or rosemary, or any snippings of fresh herbs
4-6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon paprika

For the turkey and dressing:
8 -14 pound turkey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, or olive oil
1 - 2 tart apples, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup of roasted chestnuts, cut in half or quarters
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
1/4 cup snipped fresh sage
1 teaspoon freshly snipped thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup turkey stock
5-6 cups diced day old bread, or a bag of prepared bread cubes

1/2 cup turkey stock
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
a piece of cheesecloth, cut a bit bigger than the size of the turkey breast

Remove the giblets, neck, etc. from the turkey. Place the turkey back into the refrigerator while the stock is cooking. In a heavy bottomed stock pot or large kettle, combine the giblets, neck, etc. (I do not use the liver for making the stock due to the intense flavor, but is up to you!) along with the vegetables, bay leaf, salt, pepper, herbs, water and paprika. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce to low simmer and cook for about 1 hour, or more. (Or for an alternate method, place everything in a glass batter bowl and cook in microwave for 10 minutes, then reduce to half power and cook an additional 45-50 minutes) Taste and add more salt, pepper, as desired. Strain the stock and dice up any of the cooked giblets and meat from the neck, if desired, to add to the dressing. Discard the bay leaf.

Calculate the turkey roasting time,using 20 minutes per pound of turkey. Wash the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the inside cavity with sea salt, and then lightly rub the outside skin with a little salt also. Set aside while you prepare the dressing.
In a large heavy bottomed saute pan, melt the butter and then add the chopped apple, onion,garlic, and celery. Saute 5-6 minutes, stirring often. Add the chestnuts, pepper, salt, herbs and 1/2 cup stock. Stir in the bread cubes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. This is the preheating time, you will not roast the turkey at this high of a temperature! It helps to "get the oven ready for roasting".
Now lightly stuff the cavity of the turkey. Do not pack it in too tightly. I make "snowballs" of dressing with my hands and place them into the cavity. Seal off the filled cavity with a slice of bread, or truss it shut with metal or wooden skewers. Fill the neck cavity. Then pull the nick skin back over the dressing and secure in place with a skewer or pick.
Place the stuffed turkey into a deep heavy bottomed roasting pan. I prefer not to use a rack as it roasts the bottom of the turkey better without one, and makes good drippings, and the skin does not stick like it does on a rack. Place 1/2 cup stock into a measuring and whisk in the paprika. Brush some over the outside of the turkey. Put the cheesecloth into the remaining stock and then place it over the breast, over the wing tips to hold them in place and slightly over the thighs to hold the legs in place a bit while roasting.
Place the turkey in the hot oven, and TURN TEMPERATURE DOWN TO 350 DEGREES. As it cooks, baste the cheesecloth with the pan juices, and more of the stock from time to time. The cheesecloth holds the juices in place instead of running right off of the breast. (When the turkey is done, the whole piece of cheesecloth removes easily and underneath will be a moist and browned turkey.)
Using a instant meat thermometer, check the bird when it gets to within 30 minutes of your calculated cooking time. Insert the thermometer into the thigh socket for most accurate reading. It should register about 170-175 degrees, or even as much as 180 but anything over that will produce a dry roast. When done, remove the pan from the oven, remove the cheesecloth. Lift the turkey out of the pan and onto a cutting board, reserving the drippings in the pan for making the gravy. Tent the turkey with a silicone mat or parchment or foil. Allow to stand about 30 minutes before carving, while you make the potatoes and gravy.

Recipe created 2014-11-17.

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