Friday, 5 October 2007

Sage & Onion Dressing or Stuffing for Turkey

This recipe makes enough stuffing for a 12 pound turkey; you will need to adjust it according to the size of your turkey. This is The One True Dressing, all others are mere imitations. Some people put in a chopped apple with the celery and onion. Ick, sweet! But hey, it's your funeral.

Makes enough to stuff a 12 pound turkey
1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on bread or grain medley.

The Grains:

1/4 cup raw barley
1/4 cup raw wild rice
1/4 cup red rice
1/4 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock (from 1 litre or quart total)
salt; depending on how salty is the chicken stock.

Put all this in your handy-dandy rice cooker and cook until done. Ideally, do this the night before; keep it in the fridge until wanted.

OR use 6 cups cubed stale-ish bread. It should be dry to eat, but not particularly crunchy. I prefer whole-wheat sandwich bread. I'm afraid this is the one place where a light and fluffy bakery bought bread will be better than something homemade. Again, no reason not to prep this the night before, in fact I highly recommend it, although the frying and stuffing should not take place until just before the turkey goes in the oven.

The Seasonings:
1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground rosemary
1 teaspoon savory
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon celery seed, ground
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix 'em in a small bowl, and set aside until wanted.

To Assemble:
3 stalks celery
2 medium onions
1/4 cup olive oil

Chop the celery finely, and peel and chop the onions finely. Put them in a large skillet with the oil, and sauté until tender, and reduced in volume by at least a third. Don't let them brown. Add the seasoning mix, and stir well. Mix in the rice, and toss until warmed through. Remove the pan from the burner.

If you are using the bread cubes, you will likely need to do it in two batches, as the bread has more volume. Once the bread goes into the pan, toss it carefully and watch it. You want it a little fried/toasted, but don't burn it.

To Stuff the Turkey:
Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Have your turkey ready in its' pan, without the rack if you are using one. It should be upside down to start with - spine and wings facing you. Stuff the area around the neck first - under the loose flap of skin. You can then tuck the flap neatly around the stuffing and flip the bird. The turkey, I'm talking about the turkey. It's now belly-up, right; with the legs sticking up just like in all the illustrations. You can now stuff the large abdominal cavity. This works much better than trying to stuff the abdominal cavity first as the stuffing tends to fall out when the bird is flipped.

If you have a rack for the turkey to rest on, you should now lift the turkey and slide the rack underneath. If it's a big bird, you will find it helpful to have one person hold the turkey and someone else slide in the rack. And now, back to Roasting a Stuffed Turkey.

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