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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I love this time of year.  Candles are lit, fireplace is going, and we are with family and wonderful Gluten Free food. In part, this long post is for my Daughter.  I think the first time she ever cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, she called me 30 times.  Bless her heart! I can remember when first going Gluten Free, I thought how could I live without good bread?  And even more important, what about Turkey Stuffing???  Well it did take me a few years to learn how to make a really good Gluten free Stuffing.  I discovered, that no matter how good Gluten Free Brown Rice bread was, even homemade, it made lousy stuffing. Every time.  Now I use my Healthy Bread recipe that does not have rice flour in it, a world of difference!  I wish I could give you measurements, but I can’t.  You see, I have learned to go by touch, sight, smell, and of course taste.  So I will do my best to give you a recipe for Gluten Free Apple Sage Turkey Stuffing.

I begin by thawing out 10 slices of my gluten free bread.  Then I tear it into chunks, about 1-2 inch pieces, leaving the crust parts smaller.  I place this onto a sheet pan for about 3 hours, tossing occasionally.  The trick is to allow the bread crumbs to dry somewhat.  Not hard, not too dry, somewhat dry.

There is also one other important part to this recipe.  There is nothing that will make me happier than to know I have fresh herbs in the kitchen.  Now, having said that, and I know this may be sacrilegious to some:  although I do use fresh, Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, Fresh Celery leaves, Rosemary, Thyme….I have to use dry rubbed Sage, and Poultry Seasoning.  I just do.  For me, it works better, and tastes better.  I can see you shaking your heads..but its true, it really is!  I also do not put minced garlic in my stuffing – it is too strong, but a little sprinkle of Garlic Powder is perfect.

Next step:  Heat up a frying pan on a low heat and add in 1/2 of a large diced onion, diced celery stalk, with a generous amount of butter.  Saute to sweat out, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Once the onion and celery are translucent, add in one diced apple, continuing to saute.

Meanwhile chop up the fresh herbs – I am guessing here, but about 2-3 Tblsps. of fresh parsley, thyme, fresh celery leaves and 1 Tblsp. of fresh rosemary, and sprinkle over the bread crumbs.  Then sprinkle in salt and pepper, rubbed sage and poultry seasoning. By now the onions, celery, and apple have been sauteing on low heat for about 15 minutes.  Transfer the onions, celery, apple, and melted butter to the bread and herbs.  Toss to combine, and keep tasting, until the seasonings taste just right.  If you need more butter, melt some more pouring over the stuffing – which I did.  You want the stuffing to have a little moisture, but not so that it will stick together, because it will become more moist once it is cooked in the turkey.  This amount of stuffing nicely filled the cavity of a 12 1/2 lb. turkey. Once the turkey is stuffed, with clean hands spread a generous amount of butter, rubbing all over the turkey.  Turn the wings in underneath, and roast in a 325 degree oven.

The next step -to enhance the gravy.

Inside of the turkey, are the gibblets – heart, liver, and the neck.  This is the beginning of a most delicious gravy.  I am not too fond of “gibblets” but I always make a stock to put into the Turkey gravy.  Our dog, and kitties, will get a little morsel of the cooked heart and liver for their dinner.  To a pot, add in the neck, heart, liver, with a chopped carrot, few onion slices, celery stalk with leaves, salt and pepper, sprinkling of Sage, and a Bay Leaf.  Cover with water, and simmer lightly, skimming off any foam on the surface, about 1 1/2 hours.  Strain and reserve the liquid to pour into the Turkey pan drippings.

So, now for a most amazingly moist turkey.  This year, I made the turkey in a way I have never done before.  Wow. From now on this will be the way I always make turkey.  We had  12 1/2 lb. turkey, stuffed, which was roasted in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours.  At the 2 hour mark, I covered the legs and 1/2 of the turkey in tin foil,and rotated the pan.  Plus, I did not baste this turkey.  Not once. It was amazing , so moist, golden and flavorful!  Once removed from the oven, it was transferred to a platter, stuffing removed to a covered casserole dish to keep warm in the oven, then I covered the turkey in tin foil to rest 30 minutes.  Now onto the pan gravy.

Remove as much excess grease as possible.  Add in one cup of white wine, and simmer 10 minutes.  Then add in the beautiful stock from the Vegetable Medley recipe, plus the stock from the gibblets. Bring to a good simmer for another 10 minutes to reduce.  Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle in a cornstarch slurry, whisking, to reach a nice consistency.  Turkey, stuffing, gravy is done..served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, fresh steamed green beans, a blissful dinner indeed!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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