Easy Turkey with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce
People often groan at the thought of eating leftover turkey for a week...we look forward to it. Our turkey, roasted in an oven bag, not only cooks in half the time of traditional recipes but also has twice the moistness and flavor. The gravy is smooth and rich, the stuffing is sweet and savory and the cranberry sauce is perfection – finally a feast we can be thankful for year-round.
Bite Me Bit
Maverick: I feel the need...
Maverick, Goose: ...the need for speed!
1 (1.38oz/39g) envelope onion soup mix
2 cups apricot jam
1 cup French salad dressing
1 tbsp honey mustard
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
16-18 lb whole turkey
1 turkey-size (19”x23”) oven bag
1 tbsp flour
Moist Bread Stuffing
2 egg breads (challahs), crusts removed and cut into 1-inch cubes (approximately 14 cups total)
1/4 cup butter
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
4 large celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/4 cup melted butter, for topping
Sweet Cranberry Sauce
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup orange juice or cranberry juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dried cherries
1) Keep only bottom rack in oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) In a medium bowl, combine envelope of onion soup mix, jam, French dressing, honey mustard, paprika, garlic powder, celery salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
3) Make sure the turkey cavity is empty. Rinse and pat the turkey dry. Sprinkle the bottom of the oven bag with flour and shake around the bag to prevent the bag from bursting during cooking. Place the oven bag in a large roasting pan with sides at least 2-inches high. Place the turkey in the bag and pour onion soup mixture over the turkey, making sure the entire turkey is covered with sauce. Seal the bag with the twist tie provided in the package. Cut 6 slits (each 1/2-inch long) in the top of the bag to allow the steam to escape. NOTE: You do not turn or baste the turkey during cooking.
4) Place the turkey in the oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180°F and the breast of the turkey at the thickest point reaches an internal temperature of 170°F. Don’t be surprised if the turkey takes under 2 hours as the bag dramatically speeds up cooking time...go by the thermometer dial, not the time in the oven.
5) When the turkey is done, slit the bagand lift out the turkey placing it on a large cutting board. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
6) For the gravy, take the sauce that remains in the roasting pan and strain it into a large saucepan. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then skim off any fat that has come to the surface. Over high heat, reduce sauce to desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper and pour over sliced turkey.
1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake 30 minutes or until golden, swapping tray positions and rotating halfway through baking. Set aside to cool.
2) Coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3) In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and celery. Sauté 10 minutes or until golden. Stir in sage, thyme, chicken broth and soy sauce, simmering for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
4) In a large bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in onion-celery mixture. Add bread cubes and cranberries, gently tossing to coat, ensuring all bread is soft and moist. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Drizzle with melted butter and bake for 45-50 minutes, until top is golden.
SWEET CRANBERRY SAUCE
1) Rinse and drain cranberries. In a large saucepan, combine cranberries, orange juice, sugar, brown sugar and dried cherries. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until cranberries pop open and sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Spoon off any foam that has formed and cool to room temperature before serving.
Yield: 2 cups cranberry sauce