This is my favorite recipe for roasted turkey which entails first rubbing the bird in a mixture made of porcini mushrooms and butter. I continue the mushroom theme in the gravy, and stuff the bird with a flavorful fennel, sausage stuffing. While living in Italy, it was rare to find a whole turkey in the market, and in fact when the holiday season rolled around, we had to special order a whole turkey to roast. Although roasting a whole turkey in this manner really isn’t traditionally Italian, many of the ingredients used definitely are.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 2 Cups Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 4 Tablespoons, Softened, Unsalted Butter
- 1 (14-16 Pound) Turkey
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- Turkey Neck, Heart, and Gizzard
- 1 Large Onion, Quartered
- 4 Carrots, Chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
- 1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns, Uncrushed
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Pound Sweet Italian Sausage, Casing Removed
- 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
- 2 Medium Onions, Finely Chopped
- 1 1/2 Pounds Fennel Bulbs,Trimmed And Finely Chopped (About 4 1/2 Cups)
- 1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds, Chopped Fine
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Sage, Chopped
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- 7 Cups Cubed Stale Italian Country Bread
- Chicken Broth
- 6 Cups Reserved Turkey Stock
- 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 Pound Fresh Portabello Mushrooms, Coarsely Chopped
- 1/3 Cup Port Wine
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Rosemary
- The day before, make the stock by placing all of the listed stock ingredients in a large pot.
- Add 6 cups of water and simmer for 4 hours, strain, and refrigerate stock until the next day.
- For the stuffing, heat a heavy skillet, and cook the sausage over medium high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink.
- Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
- Add butter to fat remaining in skillet and cook onions, chopped fennel, and fennel seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until the fennel is softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until most liquid is evaporated.
- Add mixture to sausage with cubed bread and toss to combine well.
- Add a few teaspoons of broth to moisten the mixture if it seems dry, but do not make it too wet.
- Set aside.
- To prepare the turkey, grind dried porcini in a food processor until it is almost reduced to a powder (about 4 minutes).
- Place the porcini into bowl, and mix in 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- Rinse the turkey inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place turkey on small rack set in large roasting pan.
- Rub porcini butter over the outside of turkey.
- Sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
- Bring the chicken broth to boil in small saucepan.
- Remove from the heat, and reserve for basting.
- Set the oven rack at lowest position in the oven and preheat it to 325°F.
- Spoon the stuffing loosely into the main cavity and neck cavity.
- Tuck wing tips under, and tie legs together loosely.
- Roast turkey 1 hour 15 minutes, covering loosely with foil if browning quickly.
- Baste with 1 cup porcini broth.
- Continue to roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting with 3/4 cup porcini broth and pan juices every 45 minutes, for about 3 hours.
- Transfer turkey to a platter. and let it stand 30 minutes.
- Internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees as it sits.
- To make the gravy, place roasting pan over 2 burners.
- Add the turkey stock and any remaining porcini broth and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.
- Strain turkey broth into heavy large saucepan, spooning off excess fat.
- Mix 4 tablespoons butter and flour in bowl to form paste.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms, and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add the Port wine, and boil until the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.
- Add mushroom mixture to turkey broth with the rosemary, and bring it to a boil.
- Whisk in flour paste.
- Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the gravy thickens, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Carve the turkey and spoon the stuffing into a large bowl.
- Serve the turkey with the gravy and stuffing.