Maple Glazed Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing & Cider Sauce
Maple Glazed Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing & Cider Sauce
This recipe is used with permission from chef & author, Bob Titterton, from his cookbook, The Vermont Home Cookbook: Local Ingredients, Global Flavors, Universal Techniques. Thank you Bob!
“Vermont-grown turkeys are in demand during the holiday season, and for good reason. Birds raised in a cold climate develop a layer of fat after the first frost. This layer keeps the Vermont turkey naturally moist and sweet during roasting – the natural version of the self-basting bird. When choosing your holiday turkey, pay extra for a pasture-raised bird. What a difference.”
(this recipe is based on a 20-25 lb turkey. Please adjust quantities accordingly.)
20 – 25 lb Pasture-Raised Turkey
- 6 cups stale whole-wheat bread, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 cups stale cornbread, crumbled
- 4 medium onions, peeled, small dice
- 6 stalks of celery. small dice
- 4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, small dice
- 2 lb breakfast style bulk sausage
- 1 Tbsp each ground sage, marjoram, leaf thyme, and ground savory
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp coarse black pepper
- 1 cup sweet cider
ROASTING the TURKEY:
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 4 stalks celery, peeled
- 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 T butter, melted
- 1 cup maple syrup
- Turkey neck and giblets (excluding liver and heart)
- 4 cups water
- Vegetables and drippings from roasting pan
- 2 cups cider
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 1 tsp leaf thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Crumble the breads onto a sheet pan and leave overnight to get stale. The next day place them in a large bowl
- Cook the sausage over medium-low heat until cooked through. Break is up with a large spoon or metal spatula as it cooks into bite-sized pieces. Add the vegetables, apples, herbs, and pepper to the sausage and continue to cook until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally. Add the cider and turn off the heat. This will cool the mixture a bit and make it easier to handle. Pour this mixture into a bowl containing the bread. Stir to combine with a large spoon.
- Place turkey parts in a sauce pan with cold water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour. Strain and reserve stock for making the sauce.
- The turkey should be close to room temperature when you stuff it. Never stuff a turkey the night before, and never refrigerate is after stuffing. Cooking times go out the window if you put a cold turkey in the oven. The most important rule to remember is that turkeys that are stuffed the night before are a cause for food poisoning.
- Before stuffing the turkey rinse it thoroughly with cold water, both inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Remove any large pieces of fat around the openings and put them in the bottom of the roasting pan. As the fat renders it will provide liquid to baste the turkey. Loosely stuff both the front and rear cavities of the turkey. Truss with cotton butcher’s twine to keep the drumsticks and wings close to the body as it cooks.
- Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C)
- The turkey will roast over a bed of vegetables. These vegetables will serve as the foundation for the sauce, as will some of the maple syrup that does not cling to the turkey.
- Prepare the vegetables and lay them in a commodious roasting pan, alternating carrots and celery across the pan. Scatter the onions over the carrots and celery. Place a roasting rack on top of the vegetables so that the air will circulate under the turkey. Place the turkey on the rack and brush it all over with the melted butter.
- Roast in a preheated oven 15 minutes per pound. When calculating the cooking time for the turkey, do not forget to subtract a pound for the neck and giblets, which are included in the purchase weight. 15 minutes can make a big difference, especially with a smaller bird. A stuffed 25 lb turkey will require up to 6 hours. Due to a number of variables a turkey of this size can be done in less time so make sure you have an instant read or digital thermometer on hand to accurately measure the temperature. Baste the turkey occasionally with the drippings in the pan.
- Brush the turkey with maple syrup 4 times during the last hour of cooking. To test the turkey for doneness, insert an instant read or digital thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. If you do not own an instant read thermometer, insert a skewer into the thigh joint. If the juices run clear, the turkey is done. Alternately, you can grasp the end of a drumstick and rotate it. If it rotates easily, the turkey is done. As the turkey rests for a requisite 30 to 40 minutes before carving, the turkey will gain additional heat from carryover cooking. This rest is essential to allow the juices that were driven deep into the center of the meat to flow outward and to relax the meat. This will ensure tender, succulent slices oozing with juice. Remove to a platter and keep warm by tenting with foil.
- Skim the fat from the roasting pan and discard. Place the pan over medium heat, pour in the cider and vinegar, and scrape up the browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.
- If you own an immersion blender, pour the contents of the roasting pan into a saucepan. Add the cider, stock, and vinegar. Puree to a smooth sauce. If you do not own one, ladle the contents of the pan, vegetables and all, into a blender and puree until very smooth. If your blender is small, do it in batches. Remember to pulse the blender in the beginning to get the hot liquid moving before turning the blender to puree. Hot liquids expand when first aerated and will blow the top off the blender unless you pulse first. Pour the sauce into a saucepan, bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and skim the foam from the surface. Add the sage and thyme and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If the sauce still seems thin, put several tablespoons of cornstarch into a small bowl and add enough water to make a thin paste by mixing it together. Gradually pour this into the sauce until thickened to your liking. Ladle the sauce into a sauceboat to pass at the table. Keep additional sauce warm, as people will want more.
- Remove the butcher’s twine from the turkey. Spoon the stuffing into a serving bowl, carve the turkey at table-side.