The thought of Thanksgiving brings visions of a Norman Rockwell painting, with a table laden with all of the traditional foods. Over the past decade or so there have been those that did their best to change those traditions by not having turkey as the star. I however am not one of those people. In my world unless you are a vegan or vegetarian it is de rigueur to consume turkey. This does not however mean I am against “playing with the recipes”. As a chef, this is what I love to do. Below is a fun way to stick with the basics while making it a bit healthier, giving it a flair of elegance and keeping it gluten free.
12 - 15lb/5.54-6.8 kg Fresh Turkey
3 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and widthwise making an elongated half circle
2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces each
1 large onion cut into 6 wedges
turkey neck and giblets
large piece of foil to cover bird, oiled and dusted with flour, or cornstarch if going gluten free
Zest of 4 large oranges
¼ cup/59ml brown sugar
2 tablespoons/30ml minced garlic
2 tablespoons/30ml dry mustard
2 tablespoons/30ml ground cumin
1 tablespoon/15ml dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon 15ml ground chipotle
2 tablespoons/30ml sea salt
2 tablespoons/30ml canola oil, divided
1 cup/225 ml mahogany rice
1 cup/225ml long grain brown rice
4 ½ cups/10.65 dl water
1 teaspoon/5ml sea salt
1 teaspoon/5ml canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
¼ cup/59ml dried cranberries
¼ cup/59ml chopped dried apricots
1 teaspoon/5ml chopped fresh sage
¼ teaspoon/5ml dry or fresh thyme leaves
In a large sauce pot bring water to a boil add salt and mahogany rice. Lower heat to medium, letting rice cook for 10 minutes.
In the mean time heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add onion and celery to the pan, saute for 3-4 minutes until the onion becomes translucent and celery is softening. Remove from heat. Pour brown rice and softened vegetables to the mahogany rice. Stir to combine, raise heat to bring back to a boil, lower the heat to low. Cover the rice and simmer for 30 minutes or rice is cooked. Remove from heat draining any liquid. Stir in dried fruits, sage and thyme. Allow to cool.
Pre-heat oven to 450F/232C/GM 8
Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavity. Rinse the turkey well under running water. Pat dry. Season the turkey cavity with 2 tablespoons/30ml rub. Stuff turkey with cooled rice/fruit mixture. Skewer the flap of skin shut over the stuffed cavity. Bind the legs together with the length of twine to keep them close to the sides. Place the, giblets, the neck, cut carrots, onion and celery in the bottom of a roasting pan large enough to fit turkey creating a base for the turkey to sit on without touching the bottom of the pan. Drizzle dried rinsed and stuffed turkey with 1 tablespoon/15ml oil. Pat the remaining rub on the turkey skin, rubbing it in to cover all of the turkey. Place a piece of foil large enough to cover the turkey sealing the edges around the roasting pan. Be sure to leave a gap not letting the foil touch the turkey. Place the turkey in the pre-heated oven. Lower the heat to 325F/162C/GM 3. Roast for 3/12 - 4 hours basting every 45 minutes. Remove foil, untruss the legs to allow for browning. Check the breast temperature it should read approximately 125F/52C. Roast uncovered for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. The leg at the thickest point and the stuffing should reach a temperature of 165F/74C.
Remove the bird, neck and giblets to a carving board and let sit for 15-20 minutes. While bird is resting pour pan juices and vegetables in a blender. Cover tightly and blend for a healthy and tasty gravy.