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Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage, Smoked Bacon, and Cornbread Stuffing
3 hr, 30
The most amazing turkey I have ever had! Tender, juicy and fabulous flavor.
For the Sage Butter
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Turkey
- 1 (12 to 14 pound) fresh turkey
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 8 strips smoked bacon
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 4 cups chicken stock (some will be used in the pan during cooking and the remainder for making gravy
For the Cornbread Stuffing
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 loaf cornbread, cubed (about 6 cups)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 4 strips of thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped (I pull mine from the turkey and add it to the dressing and bake the dressing while the bird is resting!)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Gravy
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup white wine
- (Giblets if using, see notes)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and remove the top rack.
- Combine the butter and sage in a mixing bowl, mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated and the butter has flecks of green in it; season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the neck and gizzards from the inside of the turkey and set aside.
To Make the Turkey:
- Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the breast and legs, and slip pieces of the sage butter underneath; massaging it in as you go.
- Truss the turkey; place it on a rack in a large roasting pan, pour 2 cups of chicken stock into the bottom of a roaster and put it into the oven (replenish the stock as needed to keep liquid in bottom of pan to keep the combination of maple and bacon drippings from burning.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and hot water to thin the glaze out a bit; use this to baste the turkey every 30 minutes. The turkey should take 2.5 to 3 hours to cook (i.e. 15 to 20 minutes per pound.) If the legs or breast brown too quickly, cover with foil. About 2 hours into cooking, shingle the strips of bacon oven the turkey breast to cover; continue to roast and baste for another hour or so.
- The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160 (the turkey will continue to cook while it rests and should get to 165 degrees F (the thigh juices will also run clear when pricked with a knife.) Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes before carving, so the juices can settle back into the meat.
- Take the turkey out of the oven to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
To Make the Cornbread:
- Abouit 15 minutes before the turkey is to be removed from the oven, make the cornbread batter. In a sauté pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the sage butter, add the onions and garlic and cook for 15 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from heat. Put the cornbread in a large mixing bowl and scrape the sautéed onion mixture on top. Add the egg, heavy cream, bacon pieces and just enough chicken stock to moisten the stuffing without making it soggy (about 1/2 cup.) Toss well to combine, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Once the turkey is taken out of the oven, remove the bacon and chop half of it into bite size pieces; reserving the other half for garnish. Add the bacon to the cornbread mixture and put the mixture into a greased 13X9-inch inch baking pan.
- Put the cornbread stuffing into the oven when you remove the turkey and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and crispy on top.
To Make the Gravy:
- Skim off the excess fat from the pan drippings with a spoon; saving 4 Tbsp of fat for the gravy. Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or bowl.
- Place the roasting pan over 2 burners set on medium-high heat. Add the 4 Tbsp fat drippings that you reserved and stir until melted.
- Whisk the flour into the fat and let cook for one minute. Add the liquid from the pan (chicken stock, drippings and maple syrup mixture; should measure 4 cups, if not add additional chicken stock) and whisk into the flour. Bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper and hit it with a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Add the milk and white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked giblets if using and stir to combine.
- Serve the gravy with the maple-roasted turkey and cornbread stuffing.
If you want to use the giblets in the gravy, remove and rinse them well and then bring them to a simmer in a pan covered with water that you have added 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots and one small onion to, all rough chopped. Season the stock with salt and pepper and cook on low for one hour.
Remove them from the stock and discard all but the heart and liver. Finely dice and add to the gravy.