Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Herb Turkey

Norman Rockwell has always, even as a child, made me feel nostalgic for the things of the 1940’s and 50’s. Especially the holidays, that happens to be my favorite time. Recapturing those moments from history in the present are always in the background of my mind. My parents always created that warm feeling in our home during the holidays. I recall as a child that we always had family in our house during those times. Mom was always cooking and dad was manning the Bar with his pipe in hand. The smells of turkey cooking and the scent of cherry wood tobacco hung in the air while my sister and I were glued to the TV watching Rudolph the red nose reindeer or Frosty the snow man Claymation holiday classics.

Now what does this have to do with cooking you ask? Well, nothing really. But isn’t cooking an essential part of the holidays? Yes, I think it is. It’s an element of the overall experience. Without my Dad and his pipe and the smell of his tobacco I don’t think the memory would have been the same. I think that without a turkey or a Ham roasting in the oven, my memory would be different. I think it wouldn’t have had that Norman Rockwell feeling to it.

I share this with you because I think many of you have the same memories as a child, though some may differ in content, they overall are similar. With thanksgiving coming soon, plans for your holiday are in the making. Phone calls (or texting) are going out to friends and family to plan the day. Even now, my wife is asking me from the other room, if I’ve talked to my best friend yet. Will we have a Turkey or Ham? How many pies will we need? What special Drinks do we want to do? Is there a sale coming up for shrimp? All familiar, yet, traditional planning has commenced full throttle.

With all the planning underway the recipes flow through my mind like a rolodex of cards. What will complement my turkey? Deep fry that bad boy this year? Roast it? Smoke it? Grill it? Yes I did say Grill it. I have grilled my turkey a few times and even though its takes almost an entire day to do so, it turned out delicious. What shall I go with? I think traditional roasting will be the way to go this year. I bought a new roasting pan and I have yet to use it. So with my goal set forth I will commence with the tryptophan experience.

Roasted Garlic and Herb Turkey with Forest Mushroom And Salami Stuffing

For the roasted garlic and herb rub:

• 4 cups peeled garlic cloves (about 14 to 16 cloves)
• 3 cups extra virgin olive oil
• 1 bunch fresh rosemary leaves only, minced
• 1 bunch fresh marjoram or oregano leaves only
• ½ bunch fresh thyme leaves only

For the turkey:

• 12- to 14-lb. turkey
• Salt and pepper, to taste

For the stuffing:
• 1-oz. package dried porcini mushrooms
• 3 cups chicken or turkey broth
• 8 oz. sliced Genoa salami, finely chopped
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1 stalk celery, diced
• ¼ cup chopped shallot
• 1 lb. mixed mushrooms, sliced (such as porcini, oyster, crimini, shiitake, maitake)
• 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
• ½ tsp. ground black pepper
• 14-oz. can quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
• 8 oz. fontina cheese, grated and divided
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 8 cups (about a loaf) stale bread *your choice*cubed and toasted

To make the roasted garlic and herb rub, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the garlic and the olive oil in a small baking dish. Make sure that all of the garlic is covered with oil. Cover the pan with foil and roast for 1½ hours, or until the garlic is very soft and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow cooling.

Once the garlic has cooled, drain the oil. Reserve ¼ cup of the oil for the stuffing and the rest for another use.

In the food processor, combine the garlic, rosemary, marjoram and thyme and process until smooth. Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture for the stuffing.

To cook the turkey, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. Gently loosen the skin of the turkey, being careful not to tear it. Rub the roasted garlic mixture under the skin and inside the cavity of the bird. Be sure to rub it on both the legs and the breasts, turning the bird as needed.

Rub more of the mixture on the outside of the skin, and then season the entire bird with salt and pepper.

Roast for 2½ to 3 hours, or until the breast reaches 160 F and the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170 degrees.

During roasting, turn the pan occasionally to encourage even cooking. *TIP* If the turkey begins to brown too much, tent with foil, as needed.

Allow the turkey to rest in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a platter.

When the turkey is halfway through roasting, begin the stuffing. Coat a large casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a medium skillet over high heat, combine the ½ of the sliced mushrooms and broth. Bring to a boil, then remove the skillet from heat and allow cooling.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high, heat the reserved ¼ cup garlic oil. Add the salami and sauté until crisped and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onion, celery and shallot and continue to cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the remaining ½ sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the reserved roasted garlic puree, mushroom and broth mixture, the artichoke hearts, three-quarters of the fontina and the eggs. Add the bread cubes, toss well, and then spoon into the prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining fontina and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Depending on how you want to present, I recommend transferring the stuffing to a large platter placing the mound in the center then carving the turkey and laying serving size cuts around the stuffing. It really depends on you and what you what to display.

So with your taste buds fired up, and your stove and oven ready to heat the kitchen, I raise my glass to you and challenge you to have a Norman Rockwell experience. Create your holiday smells and character. Most importantly, be happy and content, and enjoy the company of your friends and family.


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