As we are ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, the centerpiece of our feast and celebration will be a turkey. The turkey has become the star of the meal, or as some love to refer it to ” Turkey Day”.
A little bit of history behind it
Thanksgiving Day is an annual holiday in the United States. A way of celebrating the harvest and other blessings for the past year. It is believed Thanksgiving was modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonist, or Pilgrims, of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. Always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
Sarah Josepha Hale is referred to as the “Godmother of Thanksgiving”. Her early New England celebrations emphasized a roast turkey. Thereafter, adopted by the rest of the country once proclaimed it a national day by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. A way to unite the country in the midst of the Civil War. Signed into a federal holiday in 1870 by Ulysses S. Grant.
Of course, the first Thanksgiving was not as copious as it is now with cranberries, potatoes, as well as stuffing, which were not introduced until another 50 or so years later.
We love our turkey and the celebration remains the same. However, we have expanded our culinary journey and as you may have noticed, our turkey has taken so many new ways to be prepared. Fry, smoked, baked, it will always be present at our table on Thanksgiving day.
Stuffed with all sorts of wonderful savory flavors we all bring our own touch, life, and personality to the bird.
Since my first Thanksgiving, I have brought a bit of France with me and united it with the turkey. I make the chestnut stuffing and as you can see by the recipe below, it is a bit different than you may be used to.
The sausage meat, pork, sausages cooked with apples and chestnut and spices, are all brought back together with cognac. I always add some to it and it works like magic.
I cover the breasts with lots of thick bacon and I use almost a whole bottle of white wine to bast it. Do not forget to add the giblets and livers, you will be surprised how delicious they are.
By not placing the stuffing in the main cavity, my turkey cooks faster. Always poke between the breast and the thigh to let out all the natural juices. Do baste the turkey every 15 to 20 minutes to keep it moist and turn it around if it starts to cook too fast on one side. I have an older oven and this happens.
Use a very thick aluminum foil to cover the turkey until the last 30 minutes of cooking so it will get nice and golden.
Always let the turkey rest before slicing.
Optional: Add some chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic to the bottom of the roasting pan. They will emit a great flavor if you are going to use it for gravy.
I have enclosed links to items and the chestnuts that I use to make this recipe, below the recipe itself. I have added the fat separator which I use to extract the juices of the turkey to use with the Shiitake Mushroom Gravy.
Chestnut Stuffed Turkey
Amount Per Serving
Calories 736Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Vitamin C 13.4mg16%
Vitamin A 315IU6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
In a large skillet heat the butter and add the onions and the bacon strips. Add the sausage meat and the sausage. Continue cooking and separating the pork meats with a spatula.
Add the apple to the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spices and mix well.
Remove from the heat and add the steamed chestnuts and cognac. Work the stuffing lightly to well incorporate the meat and chestnuts, but not mashed them.
Make 2 small incisions on each breast as well as on each thigh and insert the garlic cloves in it Add the remaining garlic in the turkey cavity. Season generously the cavity with salt and pepper.
Stuffed the turkey’s neck with the above stuffing. Close the opening with pins and cooking twine. Place in a large roasting pan over a roast rack. With the twine bring together the legs and tuck under the wings. Slightly oil the turkey with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Cover the turkey’s breast with the thick bacon slices. Cover slight with aluminum foil. Cook approximately 20 minutes per pound.
Poke with a fork once in a while to let the juices run form the breast and tight area.
Baste with white wine and any juices from the bottom of the pan every 20 to 25 minutes
When done, no more juices running out when poking the turkey, remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes or so covered.
Remove the stuffing before slicing the turkey and place in a serving bowl.
Slice the turkey by starting with the breast and moving to the tights. Serve alongside apple slices sautéed with butter and warm steamed chestnuts.
Equipment and Products that I have used to prepare this recipe