1/2 cup whole chestnuts or dried
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and minced
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 cups stale bread, cubed
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-10 lb. turkey
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
The Night Before: If possible, the previous night, or at least one hour before cooking, prepare your turkey. Remove any giblets and rise well (inside and out) with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Generously rub turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and place back in refrigerator until time to cook.
The Next Morning:
Preparing the Stuffing: To roast the chestnuts, cut an X on the flat side of each chestnut and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375F oven. Let cool for 10 minutes and then peel and chop.
Do not turn oven off as it will need to be preheated for cooking the turkey.
In a large pot over low heat, heat the olive oil then add onions and celery. Saute for about 3 minutes or until soft. Stir in crushed garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme and apple and sauté for a further 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in egg, then add chestnuts and bread. Toss mixture well. Stir in warm broth and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
Preparing the Turkey: Remove turkey from fridge and loosely stuff the neck cavity with chestnut stuffing, fold the skin under and secure in place with a toothpick. Then loosely stuff the main cavity, making sure to leave room for expansion and the air to flow through.
Then prepare your roasting pan. Use a large roasting pan and at the bottom add two roughly chopped carrots, onion and celery. Place the rack over the vegetables. Now place your turkey, breast side up, on the rack. Drizzle with melted butter.
Bake, uncovered, at 375F for the first 30 minutes, then baste and reduce oven temperature to 325F. Continue basting turkey every 25 to 30 minutes. The cooking time should be approximately 20 minutes per pound of turkey, which would be about 3.5 hours for a 10b turkey. To check if the turkey is cooked pierce the thigh bone, juices should run clear without any pink. Also use a meat thermometer on the thickest part of the thigh. The temperature should show 180F. Turkey should be golden and crispy on the outside too.
Remove the turkey from roasting tray and reserve juices for gravy.
Tip: For extra added safety, I like to remove the stuffing from turkey once turkey is cooked and bake on a separate dish for approximately 10 extra minutes.
For the Gravy: Mash the vegetables in the roasting tray, then push all ingredients through a sieve. Discard any remaining vegetables or fat. Place the sieved liquid in a saucepan and simmer over low heat. If you don’t have enough liquid then add 1 cup or more (depending on how much gravy you need) of chicken stock; You can also add a couple of tablespoons of butter.
In a small bowl add two tablespoons of corn flour and mix with cold water (about ½ cup) until all lumps dissolve. Slowly add a little of this mixture (tablespoon by tablespoon) to the saucepan, stirring well after each addition and allowing time for gravy to thicken. Keep adding corn flour/water mixture until gravy thickens.
Tip: You can also add a couple of tablespoons of red wine to the gravy or Madeira for a richer taste. The alcohol will dissolve during the cooking process and children will be able to have the gravy.
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