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Stuffed Turkey

kept byJacquelineTiong
recipe byEpicurious

•To combat dryness, most frozen turkeys and some fresh are injected with a saline solution. This is not a good thing, though: Injected birds generally lack flavor and can have a mushy texture. For this reason, we recommend buying a fresh turkey and checking the label to be sure there aren't any additives. (Look for the words "all natural.") Don't be too concerned, though, with the many other terms that can be applied to turkeys, such as free-range, organic, or heritage. All can be excellent.

•When buying a fresh bird, be sure to purchase it no more than two days before Thanksgiving. If you must get a frozen bird, defrost it in the refrigerator in a pan to catch drips, allowing a full 24 hours for each 5 pounds.

•Warm, moist stuffing is an optimal environment for bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli to multiply, so it's important to follow safe procedures. Be sure to make the stuffing at the last minute so it can go into the bird warm. This helps it move above the "danger zone" (the optimal temperature range for bacteria growth) more quickly during roasting. When you remove the turkey from the oven, be sure to check the temperature in the middle of the stuffing to make sure it's 165°F, the temperature at which bacteria will be killed. If it's not 165°F, scoop it out of the cavity and microwave it as directed in the recipe.

•More stuffing tips: Be sure not to overpack the cavities, as the stuffing will expand during cooking. Loosely fill the turkey, then spread the extra in a casserole dish (no more than 2 inches deep) and bake it after the turkey comes out (be sure to refrigerate it until then to impede bacteria growth). Drizzle the portion in the casserole dish with extra stock to make up for the juices it won't get from the turkey. If you want the stuffing that's cooked inside the turkey to be extra-moist (as opposed to having a crisp crust where it's exposed), cover the exposed portion with a small piece of aluminum foil.

•Opinions vary on whether or not to stuff the bird—some people think it can cause uneven cooking. For more on the subject, see our turkey primer. If you prefer not to stuff your bird, fill the cavities with a chopped vegetable and herb mixture that will impart its flavor to the meat and pan juices: Chop 1 onion, 1 celery rib with leaves, 1 carrot, and 3 tablespoons fresh parsley. Mix this with 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary, sage, and thyme. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place the mixture inside. An unstuffed bird will take about 15 minutes to a half hour less to cook than a stuffed bird. When the turkey is cooked, tilt it to allow any juices that have collected in the cavity to drain into the pan. Do not serve the vegetable mixture, as it may not have cooked to a safe temperature.

•This recipe can easily be scaled up to serve more people. Estimate about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person. Cooking times (for a stuffed bird, cooked at 325°F to an internal temperature of 180°F) will be as follows:
8 to 12 pounds: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

•Some experts prefer to cook their turkeys to an internal temperature of 170°F (rather than 180°F, as in this recipe). If you don't mind having the meat slightly pink, this is perfectly safe and makes it more moist. However, Rick Rodgers, who created this recipe, believes that the dark meat in particular does not achieve its optimum flavor and texture until it reaches 180°F. If you choose to stuff your turkey and cook it to only 170°F, its stuffing will almost definitely not reach the safe temperature of 165°F. When you remove the turkey from the oven, be sure to check the temperature in the center of the stuffing, and if necessary remove it and microwave it as directed in the recipe.

•Letting the turkey stand for half an hour after it comes out of the oven is an essential part of the roasting process. When meat roasts, its juices move to the outer edge of the flesh. Letting it rest gives the juices time to redistribute, making for a moister turkey. An added bonus: The resting time provides an excellent window of opportunity to make the gravy and reheat the side dishes. There's no need to cover the bird—it'll stay warm enough, and covering it would only soften the crispy skin



3 pounds turkey wings (about 3 large wings)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium stalk celery with leaves, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
6 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
6 stalks celery with leaves, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 (14-ounce) package seasoned bread stuffing cubes
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups hot Homemade Turkey Stock or canned turkey stock, plus 1/2 cup more if baking all of stuffing outside of turkey


1 (12-pound) turkey
Warm Farmhouse Herbed Stuffing
Approximately 8 cups warm Homemade Turkey Stock
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional, melted, if needed for gravy
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Special equipment: small metal skewer; kitchen string; aluminum foil; large flameproof roasting pan with flat or V-shaped rack; bulb baster (optional); instant-read thermometer; 2-quart glass measuring cup; gravy separator (optional)



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