Mom's Turkey Stuffing Recipe
Face it -- turkey stuffing is one of those dishes where the recipe usually gets passed down from generation to generation. And, this recipe is no different. This is my mother's recipe, and she got it from her mother - my grandmother.
So, for those who don't a family turkey stuffing recipe - you can try this one. This is a recipes for an 18-20 pound turkey - with lots left over that can be cooked outside the bird. If you have a smaller bird, or are even stuffing a chicken, you will want to half or quarter the recipe.
Note: my mom swears by cheap, white, fluffy bread for this recipe. Although you can try any bread you would like -- I usually stick to what is recommended by my mom.
1 pound (1 package) of cheap, white "wonder" bread
1 tablespoon fresh, or 2 tablespoons dried thyme and sage
5-6 stems of fresh, flat-leaf parsley - ripped into pieces
1 large onion - cut into small wedges
1 large stock celery with leaves - cut into medium slices cross-wise
4 cups chicken stock
1 fresh turkey - 18-20 pounds
1. The night before, tear-up bread into large pieces. Sprinkle liberally with minced fresh or dried thyme and sage. Mix and let stand overnight to get stale.
2. Night before, place giblets and turkey neck in large cooing pot and fill with 4 cups chicken stock. Add onion, parsley and celery. Bring the water to a boil, and cook for about an hour. Take pot off heat and let it cool. Place stock in fridge overnight to let the flavors blend.
3. Next day, skim off fat from top of stock, take meat off turkey neck and cut up giblets into bit-sized pieces. Place stock with other bits back on medium to high heat, and bring to a boil. Once boiled, take off heat, and let cool enough that it is not dangerously hot.
4. Mix turkey stock with staled bread - one ladle at a time. You will need to use your hands for this part. Continue to add stock slowly (along with any other bits) until bread is moist, but not sodden. (Any remaining stock can be used to make gravy.)
5. Preheat oven to 375-degrees (F). Clean the turkey inside and out, and pat dry. Rub half a lemon onto inside turkey cavity. Place uncooked stuffing gently inside turkey cavity, and inside neck cavity, being careful not to push or compress stuffing. You should be able to giggle the stuffing down into the cavity. Close turkey up with string or metal turkey laces so that stuffing will not come out when roasting - and tie the legs together. Any extra stuffing should be placed into a buttered baking pan, and can be cooked separately from the bird.
6. Place turkey in large roasting pan, rub with olive oil, and place in oven uncovered. Baste turkey periodically so that it does not dry out. How long the turkey cooks will depend on the size of the bird (you might want to consult a chart of turkey roasting times...) After about 1.5 hours, check bird with a fork. It probably will not be done by then, but worth checking. If, after about 2.5 hours, the skin seems to be getting too crispy, over the back and leg bones with foil but don;t cover the whole bird, or it might make the skin soggy. Then turn down the temperature to 325-degrees.
7. About an hour before the turkey is due to be done, place the extra pan of stuffing in with the roasting turkey.