This year we had a Thirdsgivingday feast (the third day after Thanksgiving–an Eilene-ism). The kids were having Thanksgiving dinner with friends, so I was doing the whole Roast Turkey dinner thing as our Sunday dinner.
I don’t do much of anything special when I cook a turkey (butter, poultry seasoning and some kind of citrus in the cavity (lemon or orange, whatever I have to hand). My dressing, on the other hand, is something I always make. It is based on my mother’s Poultry Dressing recipe, but I have taken it a long way from there. This year I had to leave out the pecans, because Jan had used them all for her Pecan Tarts. But it is all good, this is a very flexible recipe.
I always cook my dressing outside the bird (for sanitary reasons—once you have had salmonella you will go to great lengths not to repeat the experience), but I do like the meaty flavor that you get when the birds juices infuse the dressing. My solution, and one of the keys to this dish, is stewing the neck (and any other parts available, except the liver) in chicken stock for at least an hour. This produces the best of both worlds—safety and flavor.
Karl’s Thanksgiving Stuffing
Turkey neck, heart and gizzard
2 ½ cup water or chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4-8 cloves garlic, to taste
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rubbed sage
½ tsp. rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
5-6 cups cubed and dried bread (may be varied sourdough, ciabatta, cornbread or mixed)
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbs. parsley
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. In a small pot, brown the turkey parts well and then continue cooking in water or broth for about 30 min. to an hour. Add water or stock to have about 2 cups of stock remaining.
2. When the meat starts falling off the bones, cool, separate the meat from the bones and chop into small pieces and return it to the stock.
3. Heat butter over medium-high heat (bacon if you are using it) and sauté the onions and celery until softened.
4. Add garlic and sauté one minute more.
5. Mix in apples, herbs, salt & pepper and sauté for another 2 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, add bread, parsley, eggs and pecans. Mix well.
7. Add vegetable mixture and stock to bowl and combine well.
8. Pour into a large Pam-ed casserole dish and bake for 30-40 minutes.