Thanksgiving TurkeyTraditional Roasted Turkey
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 carrot peeled
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons sliced chives
2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
1 pound day-old Ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 16 oz container low-salt chicken broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
As Executive Chef David Codney explains: Growing up, I always went for the dark meat because the breast meat is usually dry and has very little flavor (my family were great cooks but the dark meat always tasted better). But, now I just cook the breast and focus on doing that right so it’s perfect. I cook the legs the day before in chicken stock, until tender and falling off the bone. From the legs and thighs, I pick the meat and fold it into my stuffing, giving it an extra boost in flavor, while fortifying my stock for both the stuffing and gravy. Yes, it is a little extra work but Thanksgiving is all about the feast!
Cut into chunks – 1 onion, 1 celery stick, 1 carrot, thyme, bay leaf, 3 black peppercorns and place in a small soup pot with the low sodium chicken broth or stock. Add the turkey legs and thighs and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, turn down to very low heat, where it’s right below a simmer but still very hot, and cook the legs until tender. About 1 hour after the simmer. Once cooked, pick apart the meat and strain the stock out. Reserve the stock for the stuffing, keeping the fat on top of the stock for your gravy.
Preheat oven to 350˚F.Butter a 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, shallot, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the herbs and the picked dark meat made the day before. Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl. Add the bread and toss to coat. Add enough broth from cooking the legs (about one cup, but depending on how moist you like your stuffing, feel free to add more) to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs. Realize that the bread will soak up a lot of liquid so it’s important to adjust one more time after letting it sit for 30 minutes. Don’t worry if you add too much liquid as you can just bake uncovered until most of the moisture is out.
Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.