Growing up in the Dominican Republic, I had a different idea as to what turkey was supposed to taste like. First of all, you ordered your turkeys from the turkey farm way in advance or you were not going to get one for Christmas (we didn't have thanksgiving, obviously). The turkey got to us alive. Yes, alive. It hung around the yard for days until the day it was getting cooked. A more raw way to do this. But, it was also part of my training to kill and dress a chicken for our meals. And that is how this was done. I had not thought about this much until now. If we had to do this now, we probably wouldn't eat turkey.
The way we prepared the turkey was a little more involved than the US way but the taste is just amazing. And there won't be one little bit of crisp skin left on that cooked bird. My family loves to pick on the skin as soon as the bird comes out the oven.
- Non cured bacon. (contains no nitrates or preservatives of any kind).
- Butter, room temperature.
- Sour oranges, regular oranges, or lemons.
I make this stuffing to taste so it is hard to define amounts. This makes enough to stuff a bird and place the rest in a casserole dish to be baked in the oven after the turkey comes out.
- about 2 tablespoons Recaito
- olive or coconut oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 large bell pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a few stalks of celery
- about 2 cups. chicken stock
- about 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- roasted chestnuts or mushrooms (optional). In the winter, Costco sells already shelled roasted chestnuts.
- 1 bag stuffing croutons
This bird makes the best gravy ever. Using the drippings from this bird, you won't have to use any other seasoning. Just the drippings and flour or corn starch. I use the gizzards, neck and heart that come with the bird to make the stock for the gravy. I put them in water and cook them in very low heat for a few hours. This makes the perfect stock.
Thanksgiving morning: Take the turkey out of the fridge a little while before you start preparing it so it isn't so cold. Wash well with water. Cut oranges or lemons in half. Scrub the turkey with the orange. And leave with the juice for a few minutes. Pat the turkey a little with paper towels. Massage the turkey with the butter. Then massage with the recaito. (For this occasion, I put the recaito in the blender so it is more like a paste.) Let the turkey rest with all that on while you make the stuffing.
In a very large pan, saute the onions, the peppers and the celery until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cilantro. Add the chestnuts. Add the recaito. Add the croutons. Add stock slowly mixing carefully to not mash the croutons. The mixture shouldn't be too wet since it is going to get very moist inside the bird.
Stuff the bird. Close it. Then cover the entire bird with bacon strips.
If you have a turkey roasting pan with a lid, bake in a low (300° F) oven depending on your bird's weight. Google turkey roasting time to get the time depending on the size of your bird. When the turkey is ready, take out of the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving. This gives you time to make the gravy.
Get the drippings from the turkey pan. You will have to separate the fat. In a large pan, heat the drippings. Take a some stock and add the flour to it. Whisk it well. Add to the drippings. Slowly, add the stock as the gravy thickens to get the consistency desired. When thick it is ready.