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Maple-Bacon Glazed Turkey with Wild Rice & Cornbread Stuffing & Bourbon Gravy

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Serves ten to twelve.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 41

Before roasting the turkey, we lay a few bacon strips on the breast, which keeps the meat moist and adds an edge of smoke. Cider and diced pears cook down in the roasting pan to lend a sweet, spicy note to the gravy.

  • One 12- to 13-lb. turkey, preferably fresh, defrosted if frozen
  • 4 to 6 cups homemade or low-salt turkey stock or chicken broth; more if needed
  • 1 recipe Wild Rice & Cornbread Stuffing
  • 1/2 cup reserved apple or pear cider from the stuffing
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 6 strips good-quality bacon
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. bourbon; more to taste

Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Discard the liver (or use it for chopped liver). Simmer the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard in the stock or broth for half an hour to give it a meatier flavor; strain out the giblets before using the stock. Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat it dry.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Loosely stuff the front and back cavities of the turkey. Put the remaining stuffing in a buttered casserole dish, and cover with foil.

Put the turkey on a roasting rack in a heavy roasting pan, tuck the wings under the back of the turkey, and lay the bacon strips over the breast. Add 1 cup of stock and the remaining cider to the pan, as well as the remaining pears. Roast for about 3 hours, basting frequently and adding more stock if the pan gets dry. (If you use a large roasting pan, you’ll definitely need to add stock during roasting.)

During the last hour of roasting, baste the turkey with drippings and brush it with the maple syrup. During the last 45 minutes of roasting, put the casserole of extra stuffing in the oven to bake alongside the turkey, adding a little stock if it seems dry. The turkey is done when the juices run clear when the meat is pricked with a fork and the internal temperature of the thigh is 175°F, about 3-1/2 to 4 hours total.

Transfer the turkey to a platter; tent it with foil to keep warm. To make carving easier, remove the bacon first.

Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a heatproof 1-quart measuring cup, holding back the fruit. Let the juices sit for at least 10 minutes so the fat rises. Spoon off 4 Tbs. of the fat into the roasting pan; discard the remaining fat. Add enough stock to the juices to make 4 cups. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the flour and set over low heat. Whisk the flour and fat into a roux, scraping up the bits of dark drippings stuck to the pan. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly; don’t worry if the fruit gets a bit smashed—just whisk it along with the roux. Gradually whisk in the pan juices and stock; cook until the mixture thickens, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the bourbon and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more bourbon if you like.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the cornbread two days ahead and the complete stuffing one day ahead.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on a 12 lb. turkey; Calories (kcal): 640; Fat (g): fat g 32; Fat Calories (kcal): 290; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 10; Protein (g): protein g 74; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 9; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 260; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 220; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is an awesome Turkey. We now have it almost every year! The wild rice cornbread stuffing is also fantastic. I'm a convert and no longer want anything to do with traditional bread stuffing. My family loves this recipe!

Wonderful recipe, very delicious. I used it last Thanksgiving and will again this Thanksgiving. I did not make the Wild Rice & Cornbread Stuffing though.

Excellent

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