Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States and as I am an American, I will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Denmark. However, not on Thursday, the 22nd of November, the fourth Thursday in November. We do not have a four day holiday and therefore, I will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Sunday the 25th of November with my children and grandchildren. Every American housewife has her own special recipe of how to make the turkey. I saw a well-known cook make turkey on Danish television last night, and well I don’t agree how he made the turkey. When I first came to Denmark in 1968, 50 years ago, it was impossible to get a large turkey. If we were lucky, it was about five pounds. Now we can get them up to 15 pounds if we order them weeks ahead of time. Most Danes complain that turkey is dry because they don’t baste them with the juices from the turkey. Basting the turkey and lots of butter is the secret to moisture in the turkey.
Turkey with Stuffing and Gravy
I fresh turkey på 10-15 pounds
salt and freshly ground pepper
6-7 oz. butter, soften
wings tips, hals og gibets (not the lever)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 small carrots, coarsely chopped
½ head of celery root, peeled and cut into smaller pieces
Bunch of herbs such as parsley, thyme and 2 bay lea leaves
gibets from the turkey (liver put aside for the sauce)
1 cup of fond or chicken bouillon
15-20 slices of toast bread, best if it is a day or two old
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 celery staks, chopped
2 tsp. thyme
4 tsp. sage
1 bunch of parsley
juices from the turkey
1 quart turkey fond or chicken bouillon
4-5 tbsp. flour
turkey liver, (or chicken liver) fried on a pan in a little bit of butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.
To make turkey fond, remove the turkey neck, wings and giblets, and come them in a large pot together with 5 quarts of water. Bring the water to a boil, skim for impurities that rise to the surface, add onion, carrots, celery and herbs. Let simmer for en time.
To make stuffing, after cooking the gibets, chop them and pill the meat from the neck and wings. Come the bread in a little of the fond. Mix the bread, egg, onion, celery and chopped gibets. Add salt, pepper, thyme, sage and parsley. Let the stuffing rest 1-2 hours before filling the turkey with it.
To make turkey, rinse the turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing.(If you have the time, let the stuffed turkey rest the night over.) Rub the skin with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Position an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.
Place turkey in the oven, and pour 2 cups turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add stock to moisten them, about 1 to 2 cups at a time. Remove aluminum foil after 2 1/2 hours. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), about 4 hours.
Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
To make gravy, pour the juices from the roasting pan into a large pot. Come evt. more bouillon so there is 1 quart. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, fry the liver in a little butter and add to the sauce. This gives the bouillon a really good taste. Mix the flour a little cold water and whip into the gravy. Let the sauce simmer 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Suggested accompaniment: Celery Root, Kohlrabi and Apple mash or Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and Waldorf salat.