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Jeffrey Nathan

Reprinted with permission from the publisher of
Adventures in Jewish Cooking (Clarkson N. Potter, 2002)

 

When it comes to turkey, I rely on the advice of my buddy Rick Rodgers.  He's not Jewish, but as the author of three books on turkey and Thanksgiving, he knows his stuff(ing).  This recipe incorporates my favorite seasonings with his roasting method.  You can stuff the bird or not, but an unstuffed bird cooks in much less time.

Food Editor's notes:  This will be the star of your Thanksgiving or holiday festive meal!  Nothing beats a moist and flavorful turkey, to go along with moist and flavorful stuffing and homemade gravy.  Everyone will love the stuffing, with its traditional bread base and poultry seasoning, but gussied up with sweet apples and crunchy walnuts.  You could probably vary this with dried cranberries and pecans, or other fruit and nut pairings.  The stuffing can be made any time – I halved the recipe and served it with roast chicken one Shabbat and it was a hit.  You will need a good amount of chicken or turkey stock to prepare the gravy and moisten the stuffing, so make our Classic Chicken Soup in advance to have on hand. 
 
Ingredients
ROAST TURKEY
One 14-pound fresh turkey, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons melted pareve margarine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium celery rib, coarsely chopped
5 cups chicken or turkey stock, as needed
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

APPLE-CHALLAH STUFFING
½ cup schmaltz (chicken fat) or pareve margarine
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
10 cups (1-inch cubes) day-old challah
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped dried apples
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock, as needed
 
 
1.  Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Tie the drumsticks together and the wings to the body with kitchen twine.

2.  Combine the olive oil, melted margarine, garlic, sage, rosemary, garlic and onion powders, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Schmear all over the turkey.

3.  Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan (or use an aluminum foil ring).  Cover the breast area of the turkey, but not the wings, with aluminum foil.  Don't just tent the breast with foil – really cover it.  Roast, basting every 20 minutes with the pan juices (lift up the foil to reach the breast area), for 3 hours.  Discard the foil and add the carrot, onion, and celery pieces to the pan.  Continue roasting, basting occasionally, until a meat thermometer inserted deep into the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 180 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  (Estimate about 15 minutes per pound for a small turkey up to 14 pounds, and about 20 minutes per pound for turkeys larger than 14 pounds; if you prefer to stuff the bird, add approximately 5 minutes per pound.)

4.  While the turkey is roasting, prepare the stuffing.  In a large skillet, heat the schmaltz over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

5.  Mix the onion and celery, challah, walnuts, dried apples, parsley, and poultry seasoning in a large bowl.  Gradually stir in enough of the broth to moisten the dressing evenly without making it soggy.  Spoon into a lightly greased 10 x 15-inch baking dish and cover it with aluminum foil.  (The dressing can be made up to 8 hours in advance.  Refrigerate if not baking within 1 hour.)

6.  Remove the turkey from the oven.  Place the dressing in the oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees.  Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes, a bit longer if refrigerated.

7.  Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and let stand for 30 minutes.  (Don't ignore this advice – the rest allows the juices to soak into the meat, and makes for a moister bird.)  Meanwhile, make the gravy.  Strain the pan juices into a large glass measuring cup, discarding the vegetables.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Skim off and reserve the fat that rises to the top.  You should have 2/3 cup of fat; add some olive oil, if needed.  Add enough of the chicken stock to the skimmed pan juices to measure 5 cups.

8.  Place the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat.  Pour in the fat.  Whisk in the flour and cook until bubbling.  Whisk in the stock mixture and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits in the pan.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, until thickened and no raw flour taste remains, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

9.  Carve the turkey.  Strain the gravy into a sauceboat.  Serve the turkey with the dressing and gravy.

Jeffrey Nathan is the executive chef and co-owner at Abigael's, New York City's premier kosher restaurant.  This recipe comes from Adventures in Jewish Cooking (Clarkson N. Potter, 2002), the companion book to Jeffrey's public television series New Jewish Cuisine, a past nominee for the James Beard Award for best national cooking show.  For more information, visit www.abigaels.com.

Roast Turkey with Apple, Walnut, and Challah Dressing
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