Turkey almost always has the place of honor when family and friends gather for holiday meals. It's perfect when serving a crowd. It's economical, too, and everyone loves it.
Best of all are the leftovers that get wrapped and placed in the fridge for hearty sandwiches the next day -- or even later that night.
Stuffing: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until tender.
In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, bread cubes and parsley. Spoon into a greased 12-cup casserole dish.
To bake, add enough turkey stock to moisten stuffing and toss. (If you plan to stuff the bird, omit stock.) Cover with lid or foil and place in oven for the last hour of roasting turkey, uncovering for last 30 minutes to brown and crisp the top.
Turkey: Preheat oven to 325°F.
Remove neck and giblets from bird; reserve to make stock. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Secure legs by tying with string or tuck under skin around the tail; fold wings back and secure neck skin with skewer. Place turkey, breast side up, on a greased rack in a large roasting pan or broiler pan. Brush bird with melted butter. Lightly crush garlic with side of knife; scatter garlic, onion, carrots and celery in pan. Season turkey and vegetables with rosemary, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper.
Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of inner turkey thigh, being careful not to touch bone. Roast turkey for 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 hours; no need to baste. (If turkey starts to brown too quickly, tent bird loosely with heavy-duty foil, shiny side down.)
Turkey is done when meat thermometer registers 165°F for unstuffed bird; 170°F if stuffed. Remove from oven; cover with foil and let stand for 15 minutes for easy carving.
Gravy: Skim fat from roasting pan; place over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine; cook, stirring, until reduced by half. Stir in stock; bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, until gravy thickens. Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan, pressing down on vegetables; discard the vegetables. Season gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: Turkey Gravy Stock: Pat neck and giblets dry. (Do not use liver.) In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat; cook neck and giblets, stirring, for 8 minutes or until nicely browned.
Add 1 each chopped onion, carrot and celery stalk including leaves along with 1 teaspoon dried thyme; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until vegetables are lightly colored. Add 1 cup white wine, if desired. Stir in 6 cups water; season lightly with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 3 hours. Strain stock through cheesecloth-lined or fine sieve; discard solids. Makes about 4 cups stock.
The Best of Bridge began in 1975 when eight women bridge partners (Mary Halpen, Karen Brimacombe, Helen Miles, Val Robinson, Joan Wilson, Moira Mackie, Marilyn Lyle and Linda Jacobson) were inspired to write their first cookbook. Since then, they've sold more than 3.2 million copies of their 12 cookbooks and have become one of the top brands in Canadian publishing.
Publisher: Robert Rose Inc.
Penned: Oct. 15, 2014
What's Inside: 225 holiday-right recipes perfect for sharing with family and friends. You'll find party-worthy finger foods (like pretty Guacamole Cherry Tomato Halves) and libations (Ummm ... Hot Buttered Rum) as well as classic sides (always a hit Green Bean Casserole) and crowd-pleasing entrees (think Roast Beef with Mustard-Peppercorn Crust).
In addition, there are dozens of delicious dessert ideas and entire chapters devoted to leftovers (why not turn them into a yummy second meal?) and food gifts (homemade Christmas Marmalade for the neighborhood!). An entertaining must, this festive collection comes in handy whether you're planning a casual holiday brunch, an elegant sit-down dinner or anything in-between.
Time Out: 303 pages
Available: $29.95 where books are sold
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