Traditional Turkey and Stuffing

Just about everybody has their favorite way to prepare a Thanksgiving Day dinner. I have to admit, when it comes to fixing a turkey, the way my grandma and mom fixed them can’t be beat.

I’ve pretty much followed in their footsteps, roasting the turkey the old-fashioned way and stuffing it with a dressing that contains dried bread, ground pork, a little onion and celery, an egg, milk and some seasonings. This year, however, I’m brining my turkey and making stuffing on the side (www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/184440/).

I realize that a lot of people are reluctant to try new things when the old is so dependable. That’s why I’m going to report here later about how the brining went, so if you are so inclined, you can give it a try at Christmas.

In the meantime, here are a couple of traditional Thanksgiving recipes for turkey and stuffing.

Good eating!

Turkey with Cider Glaze
1 turkey, 18 to 20 pounds, giblets, neck removed
1 small bunch thyme sprigs
1 onion, quartered
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
½ cup honey
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Fill the turkey cavity with thyme sprigs and onion. Turn wing tips under; truss legs with kitchen string. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan.
Mix butter, pepper, salt and vinegar in a saucepan. Rub some of the mixture over the turkey.
Roast turkey 3 hours, loosely covering turkey with foil if it is browning too quickly.
Stir cider and honey into remaining butter mixture; heat over medium heat, stirring, until smooth. Baste turkey with mixture. Roast turkey until an oven-safe or instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 180 degrees, about 1¼ hours, basting occasionally. Remove turkey from oven; let stand 15 minutes before carving.
Note: Stuff the bird with a favorite stuffing or the recipe that follows. Just add 15 minutes of roasting time.
Yield: Serves 18.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 530 calories, 43 percent of calories from fat, 24 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 245 milligrams cholesterol, 0.2 grams carbohydrates, 72 grams protein, 170 milligrams sodium, no fiber.
Classic Herb Stuffing
1 loaf (1 pound) Italian bread or French bread, cut into ½-inch cubes, about 12 cups
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ribs celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons each: dried sage, dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup each: dried cranberries, toasted chopped pecans, see note
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken broth
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place bread on baking sheet. Bake until cubes are dry, about 20 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.
Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook celery and onion, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in sage, thyme, salt and pepper to taste; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to bowl with bread. Add cranberries and pecans. Mix to combine all ingredients. Add eggs and broth; toss gently to combine.
Turn mixture into greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake until brown and crusty on top, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, stuff mixture into turkey cavity just before roasting; make sure stuffing reaches 165 degrees.
Note: To toast pecans, spread nuts on baking sheet. Toast in 325-degree oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Or place in dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 4 minutes.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 420 calories, 49 percent of calories from fat, 23 grams fat (7 grams saturated fat), 75 milligrams cholesterol, 45 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 850 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

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