Dad's Turkey and Stuffing
Thanksgiving Day always meant getting up early and helping Dad with the Turkey and Stuffing. I suppose we wouldn’t have had to start so early if we didn’t stuff the bird which we named every year according to current events. But I’m glad that we did, because it became our father-daughter tradition: watching the Macy’s Day parade while I sautéed onions and mushrooms in an obscene amount of butter. I always begged him to leave out the mushrooms to which he replied, “NO! Slice them big so you can fish them out!” He would choose the biggest bowl he could find in the kitchen, add five bags of Pepperidge Farm bread crumbs, the onions, mushroom, and butter, and then give me one direction: “Stir! Stir! Stir!” I sat there churning a wooden spoon for what seemed like half an hour as he danced around me adding milk . . . eggs . . .a Stove Top seasoning packet . . . more breadcrumbs . . then more milk . . then chicken broth . . .then more breadcrumbs. . . “a bit more milk. . . STIR!” It seemed endless. I wish it was.
Dad was also known for his turkey which was juicy and never dry. However, his secret, to my aunts and Uncle Craig’s chagrin was basting the turkey every thirty minutes with an entire container of Parkay’s Squeeze margarine. I’ve modified both recipes over the years. I brine the turkey and forego the Parkay. In Switzerland, I added luganighetta, a sausage made in Lugano. One year, Sunny and I made the stuffing in muffin cups to make individual portions. Add whatever you’d like to the dressing. I’m happy to carry memories of my father with each version, wondering what he would think of it.
2 cups salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole peppercorns
4 bay leaves
bunch of thyme
~ Brine turkey overnight in ingredients above
dissolved in enough water to submerge turkey.
~ Roast at 325º F about 20 minutes per pound.
~ Baste every half hour with chicken stock.
~ Remove and rest when thigh bone registers 165º.
2 bags Pepperidge Farm season bread cubes
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
4 T butter melted
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
~ Sauté vegetables in butter, salt, and pepper.
~ Stir together all ingredients except broth.
~ Add broth and milk slowly until mixture is combined and wet.
~ Place in buttered dish and dot with butter.
~ Bake at 325º F, 30 - 45 minutes, till brown.