Sunday, 13 October 2013

Stuffing the Turkey

My mom has always cooked an amazing Thanksgiving Day Turkey and I have been trying to learn for years how to master the art of cooking Thanksgiving Day Dinner. It's always seemed to be such a so long and complicated process but in reality once you get the hang of it, it's a little more simple than you would think. My mother and I teamed up this year to make dinner together which allowed her to show me the ropes. I decided to write everything down so when my turn to cook dinner comes around I'll have a step by step guide to preparing the dinner making the task a little less daunting. I've decided to share this years menu and schedule with you as well. Hopefully it helps you out as much as it has helped me out. 

Mashed Potatoes
Peas and Carrots
Acorn Squash
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Apple Salad with Black Walnuts
Pumpkin Pie

Dinner to be served at 5:00 pm. We were also working with a 16 lb turkey. A smaller turkey will require less cooking time but a larger turkey will require a longer cooking time.
If you're wanting to eat at a different time just adjust the time of preparation accordingly.


9:00 am start the stuffing

This recipe makes enough to stuff a 15 lb (6.75 kg) turkey. With the remaining stuffing (anything that can't fit into the bird) can be baked separately, place it in a greased casserole and moisten it with chicken stock. Cover and bake in 325*F (160*C) oven for 30 minutes; uncover and bake for 30 minutes longer or until top is crisp. 


¾ cup butter or margarine
2-1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
1 (granny smith or Macintosh apples) chopped
4 breakfast sausages squeezed out of casing
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup raisins
2 tsp sage
1 tsp marojarum
5 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp savory
14 cups cubed white bread
1 cup chopped fresh parsley


In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; first add onions, celery and spices and mix together. Next squeeze the sausages from their casings and break into small pieces and mix into the pan. Once the sausage is nearly cooked add the parsley, raisins and dried cranberries.  Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, transfer to large bowl and toss with bread. If the stuffing seems a little dry just melt some more butter and add to the skillet.


When buying a turkey you want to look for a short and fat shaped turkey with short legs, this means the turkey is a female. Male turkey's are long and are very tough, strong tasting and take longer to cook.

The morning of the day before Thanksgiving Dinner remove the Turkey from your freezer and soak in cold water in a large sink or tub which will allow it to defrost in time for cooking the following morning.

The next morning, once the turkey has defrosted remove it from the packaging and wash out the inside with cold water and dab it dry with scott towels. If you want to cook the neck etc. which is kept inside the turkey you are free to do so but no one in my family likes it so we just throw it away.

Once this is done, you stuff the turkey with stuffing in both the neck cavity and the main cavity until you can't squish any more in there. The remaining stuffing can't be baked in the oven with a little bit of chicken stock.

Smear the top of the turkey with butter or margarine and sprinkle salt and pepper on top of it.

Cover your turkey with with tinfoil and seal the edges along the rim of the roasted (make sure the shiny side is on the inside so you don't ruin your oven, because it reflects the heat) Place the lid on top of the tinfoil.

The length of time needed to cook your turkey is based on the size of it.  The heavier the turkey, the longer it needs to be cooked. I would say cook your turkey 15-20 minutes per pound. A 15 lb turkey should take about five hours to cook.

If your turkey is covered cook it at 400 * F for the first 30 minutes, then for the remainder of the time cook it at 325*F. For the last 30 minutes, remove the lid and the tinfoil and baste it to brown it and get all of the juices on the turkey. Make sure you baste the cavity that holds the stuffing to get it nice and moist.

Once your turkey is cooked allow it to sit for 15 minutes before cutting into it.


10:00 am

Prep the vegetables ahead of time so when it comes time to cook them all you have to do is turn up the heat.


1 Turnip
salt and pepper to taste
butter (to taste)

Peel and cut the turnip into medium sized pieces, place in an appropriately sized pot on the stove filled with cold water. Let this sit until you are ready to cook them later on in the day.

about 15 minutes before the turkey is done start cooking your turnips. It should take 30 minutes to cook your turnips.

Once cooked, drain (save water for gravy) add butter, salt and pepper and mash. Transfer to a serving dish and cover with tinfoil when ready with the shiny side down and keep them covered until you're ready to eat.


1-2 medium sized russet potatoes per person
butter (to taste)
milk (to taste)

Peel and cut the potatoes into medium sized pieces, place in an appropriately sized pot on the stove filled with cold water. Let this sit until you are ready to cook them later on in the day.

About 15 minutes before the turkey is done start cooking your potatoes. It should take 30 minutes to cook your potatoes.

Once cooked, drain (saving the water to add to the gravy), add butter and begin to whip the potatoes, once potatoes are smooth, add milk slowly, whipping and adding more until you get the consistency and taste you like.

Once this is done put the potatoes in a serving dish and cover with tinfoil until ready to eat.


1-2 per person

Peel and cut the carrots into medium sized round slices, place in an appropriately sized pot on the stove filled with cold water. Let this sit until you are ready to cook them later on in the day.

Once the potatoes and turnips are boiling, start cooking the carrots

When you're ready to cook the peas and carrots. Don't add the peas until the carrots are pretty much cooked. Once the peas are added bring the water to a boil remove the pot from heat, drain the peas and carrots and place in a serving dish with tin foil on top of it to keep the heat in.


10:30 am

We prepared the squash in the morning (About an hour after we put the turkey in apr. 10:30 am) 

Once the squash is cooked scoop it out and place it in a casserole dish with the remaining ingredients. About an hour before the turkey is ready put the casserole dish back in the oven to heat it up before serving.

1/2 of a squash per person
(4 for 8 people)

4 small squash, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cut squash in half. Remove seeds. Place cut side down on baking pan. Bake in 375*F oven for 40 minutes.

Mix butter, honey, salt and pepper together. Turn squash cut side up. Divide syrup mixture among hollows, spreading around the inside. Continue to bake another 20 minutes or until cooked. Serves 8.


Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 12 minutes, Serves: 8

11:30 am

We prepared the dressing around and began slicing up the Brussels Sprouts at noon to get them ready for cooking later on

Blackberry Farm chefs say this recipe convinces anyone to love brussels sprouts. Black walnuts have a more bitter; earthy flavour than traditional walnuts, although either will work well. Here, the sprouts are pan-roasted on the stovetop. If you prefer to cook them in the oven, toss them with 2 tbs. olive oil, place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 450*F for about 15 minutes



1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbs firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp hot sauce


2 tbsp blackberry farm smoked onion jam or caramelized shallots (available at William Sonoma)
1 tbsp sherry vinegar ( if you don't have sherry vinegar just use 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 tbsp cooking sherry)
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
1 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 cup black walnuts, toasted (or just use regular walnuts)
1 1/2 red apples, such as Fuji or Gala. Cored and thinly sliced.

To make the sweet hot mustard, in a howl, whisk both mustards, vinegar, brown sugar and hot sauce. Reserve two tbsp mustard for the salad; refrigerate the rest for up to four weeks.

To make the salad, in a large bowl, whisk the smoked onion jam, vinegar, the 2 tbsp of sweet hot mustard, 3 tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are just tender and lightly browned, about 11 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the vinaigrette, add the walnuts and apples and toss. Season with salt and pepper.


all of the drippings, seperated from the grease
 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 cups vegetable water: ( depending on how thick your gravy is)
all of the water from the turnips
all of the water from the peas and carrots
if you still need more use the water from the potatoes
1 package gravy browner

Remove turkey from roaster, pour off drippings into a seperator to remove grease. Measure amount required and pour into large saucepan. Add flour, gravy browner, salt and pepper slowly, whisking it in to avoid lumps. Pour half the water into roaster to blend with brown bits. Stir and pour into flour mixture along with other half of water. Heat and stir until it boils and thickens. Check for salt and pepper. It will probably need more. Makes 6 cups.

No comments:

Post a Comment