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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Roast Turkey With Mushrooms, Chestnuts and Gravy

NOV 19, 2008

The slow-roasted turkey looks beautiful when delivered to the table, with herbs just under the skin. No one will miss a traditional bready stuffing when presented with this rich-tasting mushroom-and-chestnut side dish. The mushrooms and chestnuts are cooked separately but can be combined in the turkey cavity just before serving.

The recipe calls for fresh chestnuts, but peeled chestnuts are available at several food stores.

Make Ahead: The chestnuts can be peeled then refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The mushrooms can be prepared 2 days in advance and reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 12- to 14-pound turkey, neck and giblets removed from the cavity
6 fresh bay leaves
7 1- to 2-inch rosemary sprigs
1 stalk celery, cut in half
1 medium onion, cut in half
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh chestnuts, peeled (see NOTE)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium shallot, minced (1 to 2 teaspoons)
2 pounds mushrooms, such as chanterelles, creminis, shiitakes or morels; cleaned and cut into halves or quarters
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups homemade turkey stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth, to supplement the defatted turkey drippings
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have ready a large roasting pan with a rack insert.

Use a little of the melted butter to lightly grease the roasting rack and pan. Use paper towels to pat the turkey dry. Place the bird on the rack in the pan, tucking the wingtips under.

Without completely detaching the skin, use your fingers to carefully loosen it from the turkey breast. Slip 5 of the bay leaves and 6 of the rosemary sprigs between the skin and the breast meat. Place the celery, onion and remaining bay leaf and rosemary sprig in the cavity of the turkey.

Brush the bird with at least half of the melted butter, then season the turkey lightly with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Slow-roast, basting frequently during cooking with the remaining melted butter and drippings from the pan, for 3 to 4 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 to 170 degrees when inserted into the meaty part of thigh. (The juices should be clear, not reddish-pink, when the thigh muscle is pierced with a knife.) Begin checking for doneness after 3 hours.

Uncover the turkey during its last hour in the oven and add the prepared chestnuts to the bottom of the pan. They should take about 45 minutes to become tender; stir them occasionally. The turkey should be nicely browned.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, preferably one with a moat to catch any juices. Cover the turkey loosely with foil. Let stand for 20 minutes. Pour the pan drippings into a fat separator measuring cup.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chestnuts to a serving bowl; set aside and keep warm.

For the mushrooms: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms, stirring to combine and coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat. Add the parsley and stir to combine. Set aside and keep warm.

For the gravy: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, whisk in the flour; cook, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes.

Whisk in the reserved drippings and the turkey stock or broth (a total of 4 cups' worth). Increase the heat to high just to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for about 15 minutes, until the gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve, carve the turkey and serve with the mushrooms, chestnuts and gravy.

NOTE: To peel chestnuts, use a paring knife to score around the middle of each chestnut, being careful not to cut the flesh. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in 400-degree oven for 20 minutes; the peel will have separated where the cut was made. Peel and discard the skin and the thin membrane of the chestnuts. Keep at room temperature until ready to add to the turkey roasting pan, or cover in an airtight container and store for up to 3 days.

From chef Virginia Willis.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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