Thursday, November 5, 2009

Turkey…Not Just for Thanksgiving

I am on vacation this week and planned on roasting a turkey today with all the fixings including stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, and various veggies. The stuffed turkey is roasting in the oven as I type this and pleasant aromas are beginning to fill the house along with the warm heat from the oven. The fact that it snowed today seems to add to the coziness.

Last year we purchased a chest freezer mostly for the purpose of stocking up on turkeys as they go on sale around the holidays. We love turkey and I usually roast a small, 10-15 pound turkey once a month during the winter. Not a bit goes to waste as leftovers are used in various ways from soups to sandwiches. Our cats, Jasmine and Mysty and dog, Bradie usually enjoy their share. Stock is made and frozen to be used throughout the year.

I have been able to experiment with different stuffing recipes and we have decided that sausage stuffing is our favorite. The original recipe I use has been modified slightly from this one at the Food & Wine website: Roasted Turkey with Italian Sausage Stuffing. Different types of sausage will give this recipe slightly different flavors. I was pleased to be able to use garlic, onions, and sage from my garden this time. Here is the recipe:

Turkey with Sausage Stuffing

1 10-15 pound turkey
1 pound sausage
6 cups turkey or chicken stock
1 14 ounce package cubed stuffing
2 medium onions, 1 finely diced, 1 cut into chunks
3 ribs of celery, 2 finely diced, 1 sliced into chunks
4 large garlic cloves, finely diced
1 medium carrot sliced
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
5 Tbsp butter, 4 Tbsp chilled, 1 Tbsp softened
Fresh ground pepper
Poultry seasoning
1/4 c flour

Sausage Stuffing:
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and break it into small pieces as it cooks. Continue cooking until no pink remains. Add chopped onion, celery, and garlic. Mix in well and cook until softened. Add sage and 4-Tbsps chilled butter. Mix until butter is melted and ingredients are well blended.

Remove from heat and pour into a large heat safe bowl. Add packaged cubed stuffing, 2 tsp poultry seasoning, and pepper. Toss to mix. Add 2 cups turkey or chicken stock and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The stuffing can be prepared the day before.)

Clean the turkey. Lower oven rack and preheat oven to 425˚F. Spoon stuffing loosely into the cavities of the turkey. Place remaining stuffing in a greased 2-quart baking dish and refrigerate. Skewer turkey openings, tie drumsticks together, and place on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub turkey with 1 Tbsp softened butter and sprinkle 1 tsp poultry seasoning and rub in. Scatter turkey neck, giblets, chunked onion, carrot, and celery around the turkey. Add 1 cup turkey or chicken stock. Roast turkey uncovered for 30 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 325˚F. Cover and roast for 3 to 4 hours longer basting turkey every half hour or so. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer registers 165 °F when inserted into the thickest part of the inner thigh and stuffing. Remove from oven and put aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Drizzle 1 cup turkey or chicken stock over the remaining stuffing in the 2-quart baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until the stuffing is heated through and top is crispy.

In a medium sauce pan, whisk 1/2 cup of turkey or chicken stock with 1/4 c flour until blended. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock, poultry seasoning and pepper to taste. Over high heat, bring to a boil and whisk together until thickened and no flour taste remains. Reduce temperature to low and keep warm until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

Remove stuffing from turkey cavity and place into a serving bowl. Carve the turkey and serve. Refrigerate roasting pan with the turkey carcass and pan juices until you are ready to make turkey stock.


  1. I love turkey too, but my family is not as fond of it. Luckily one of my nearby restaurants does a full turkey dinner. Maybe it is just an excuse to eat cranberry sauce. I ought to make cranberry sauce and have it with chicken. Then I'd probably be happy.

  2. hey there! you have officially been tagged with an Honest Scrap award :) your shout out is on tonight's post. i hadn't heard of this "award" before last night, but it seems like fun play. — allison

  3. I've thought about doing that. We all love turkey. I've even made lovely sausage out of turkey. The ones I like rarely go on sale, though. I ought to check and see if I could find a sale on organic turkeys this year. It looks so yummy.

  4. You are making me so eager for Thanksgiving. I think I love the aroma of roasting turkey almost as much as I love the roasted turkey.

    Happy to find your blog, neighbor! It's wonderful...

  5. Daphne: K and I can’t imagine not liking turkey. It has to be our favorite. He likes cranberry sauce too, but I don’t.

    Allison: Thanks for the tag!!

    Stefaneener: We don’t always eat organically, but are pretty lucky with our organic and free range choices here. There are several stores that are purely natural/whole food stores in addition to local farms who choose to raise their poultry organically.

    June: Welcome! We also love the aroma of roasting turkey. I am looking forward to exploring Four Acres. Wow, blogging has opened up a whole new world of reading.

  6. Yum...I plan on having turkey several times during the next few months. There's just something really special about turkey. You feel instantly at home and satisfied!

  7. Yeah, I agree with you, cooking a turkey is not only for thanksgiving but any season that you want. Thanks for sharing this turkey recipe here. I will try this at home soon. And hope to find more on how to carve a turkey in a perfect way.

  8. I just bought a 35-cent a pound turkey for roasting at some time after Thanksgiving. I would prefer a free-range, organic turkey, but having been severely cut back at work recently(hey, at least I'm not unemployed), I'm taking advantage of a cheap bird while I can get it. Glad to read that you make soup/broth out of the carcass. So do we. --Lou