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Herb Roasted Turkey with Chestnut-Shiitake cornbread stuffing

  • Category: Main Dish, Poultry
  • Submitted By: Isaac Owsley
  • Town/State: Sonora, CA
  • Serving Size: 8-10
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Cooking time: varies (15 minutes per lb for unstuffed turkey 20 minutes per lb for stuffed)

Alright folks, whether or not you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this week, there is no doubt that it is indeed turkey time. The low price and great abundance of this large tasty bird make it almost a winter season staple in the United States with an average of 18.3 lbs consumed by every man woman and child this year alone. This county is even luckier in that we have a turkey ranch locally, Diestel Turkey Ranch that specializes in delicious free range grown and organically raised turkeys. Being a relatively lean meat the biggest problem to roasting a turkey for the long duration needed to completely cook it through is that the meat tends to get dry, especially in the leaner white meat portions such as the breasts and the wing sections. This recipe combats that dryness by adding a layer of herb infused butter between the skin and breast meat. This acts like a built in basting process that both infuses the meat with the flavors of the herbs as well as gives the meat a succulent moist texture. The Stuffing recipe included is a favorite of mine, a cornbread based stuffing that uses roasted chestnuts and flavorful shiitake mushrooms that imparts a delicious, almost truffle like flavor to the dressing. Personally I recommend preparing this stuffing separately from the turkey to ensure both turkey and stuffing are cooked completely thru to at least 160 degrees for the stuffing and 170 degrees for the turkey. Try this recipe this Thursday with your family and gathered friends and enjoy.

Ingredients for the Turkey

Amount Measure Ingredients
12-16 lbs whole turkey, thawed
12 oz butter or margarine
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp oregano, crushed
1/8 tsp sage, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic Powder
1/8 tsp mild ground chili powder (optional)

Ingredients for the Stuffing

Amount Measure Ingredients
2 12 oz boxes cornbread stuffing mix spice packet removed
1/2 lb Chestnuts, roasted and shelled then chopped ¼”
6 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in 2 cups Hot water stems removed and chopped fine
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
1 small red onion, diced
2 stalks celery diced
3 cloves garlic
1 large egg, beaten
    salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the turkey:

Blend the butter together with the herbs and spices until soft and well mixed, set it aside and let the flavors combine at least 15 minutes. Place the turkey breast side up in a large roasting pan and gently lift the skin off of the meat and spread the softened butter-herb mixture on the meat. Pat the skin back down onto the meat and cover with foil. Cook in a 350 degree preheated oven 15-25 minutes to the lb or until the meat thermometer reads 170 degrees when inserted at the thickest portion of the breast. For a crispier skin, remove the foil the last 45 minutes of cooking time.

To prepare the stuffing:

Place the cornbread stuffing mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped chestnuts, mushrooms, onions, celery, garlic, and egg mix together thoroughly. Pour the chicken stock and ½ cup of the water used to reconstitute the mushrooms over the mixture and then place in a baking pan or casserole dish approximately 45 minutes to an hour, serve along side the turkey and your other side dishes.