Turkey with Orange, Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing and Pomegranate Glaze

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Photo of Thanksgiving Turkey

For Thanksgiving 2002 I cooked my first whole turkey. Since then I have modified and improved the original recipe. Here my recipe for a pomegranate-glazed turkey with a sausage, chestnut, sage and orange stuffing.

Ingredients

Stuffing

  • ½ lb / 225g beef chuck roast
  • ½ lb / 225g pork meat (not too lean, e.g. shoulder)
  • ¼ tsp whole fennel seed
  • ¼ tsp whole aniseed
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ lb / 350g white bread, cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 lb 2 oz / 500g chestnuts, peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Turkey and Gravy

  • 1 turkey (18-20 lbs / 8-9kg)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Olive oil for brushing the turkey
  • Red wine, white wine, chicken stock and orange juice for basting, ca. 1 cup / 250ml each

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 4 cups / 1l pomegranate juice
  • 8 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter

Preparation

Stuffing

Photo of meat for turkey stuffing sausage
  1. Grind together fennel seed, aniseed, black pepper, garlic power, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and salt. This works best with mortar and pestle.
  2. In a food processor (or meat grinder) grind together pork and beef and the ground spices.
  3. Blanch orange peel for ca. 1 minute in boiling water to reduce the bitterness.
  4. Set heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add butter. Add onion and sage and cook until softened.
  5. Add celery and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add ground meat, stir well to break up into small pieces. Cook until browned and fully cooked.
  7. Add orange juice, orange peel and chopped chestnuts. Cook until chestnuts start to soften.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the bread cubes and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  9. It doesn't work too well to prepare the stuffing ahead, since it gets soggy very easily. If wish you do so anyway, keep the stuffing refrigerated and stuff the turkey only right before roasting. Stuffing the turkey in advance is unsafe.

Pomegranate Glaze

  1. Set heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and cook until lightly browned.
  2. Add sugar and cook until lightly browned. Stir frequently.
  3. Add pomegranate juice. Stir well and reduce until consistency becomes syrupy.

Turkey

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F / 165°C.
  2. Rinse turkey and blot dry. Spoon stuffing into both cavities, close up with small skewers. There should be at least one cup of stuffing left.
  3. Truss with string. Make sure, legs and wings are close to the body. Place turkey in a large roasting pan, preferably on a roasting rack. Brush with olive oil.
  4. Add vegetables and leftover stuffings to pan.
  5. Place in oven. After ca. 15 minutes, add chicken stock, red wine and white wine to the pan so that the vegetables and stuffing don't burn.
  6. When the internal temperature measured in the thickest part of the leg (make sure the thermometer does not touch the bone) has reached ca. 165°F / 74°C, brush the turkey with the pomegranate syrup.
  7. Continue roasting until the internal temperature in the leg has reached 170°F / 77°C.
  8. Remove from oven. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Gravy

  1. Transfer vegetables and liquid from the turkey pan to a smaller heavy saucepan.
  2. Set over medium heat, reduce if necessary.
  3. Puree with a stick blender until smooth. If not thick enough, blend in additional bread cubes.

Notes

  • While it is not considered fully safe to cook the stuffing in the turkey, I think it does taste better that way. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, make sure that the core temperature of the stuffing is also at least 165°F / 74°C when cooked.
  • See the USDA Food Safety Pages for information about cooking poultry safely.
  • Basting doesn't make a big difference since the turkey is later brushed with the glaze. If you think basting is necessary, start after ca. 1 hour with the liquid and drippings in the pan.
  • The stuffing recipe is loosely based on a holiday turkey recipe from a 2001 calendar.

Comments

reply

I roasted my turkey this way at Thanksgiving this year and received RAVE reviews. It was so easy to do and added a wonderful taste to the breasts. I give it 5 stars out of five.
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