The theme for Monday posts in December is Holiday Food.
Making the holiday dinner for family and / or friends can be both gratifying and terrifying.
I prefer a capon here when we are cooking for a small group but I have roasted a lot of turkeys when I lived in the U.S.
I do it the ‘old-fashioned’ way, drying the bread, making the stock and stuffing / dressing, etc.
For those who are interested, here is my ‘recipe’:
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Roast Turkey or Capon with Stuffing
This recipe is for a small turkey or large capon. Roasting a big holiday bird is not precise, but I tried to make the instructions easy. You can skip making your own stock and just buy it (if possible).
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 5 hours
- Total Time: 6 hours
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Chicken
- 8lb (4 kilo) capon or turkey
- 3 tbs soft butter
- 2 tsp dried sage
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
- 1 – 2 cups turkey or chicken broth
- 1 cup Madeira
- 1/4 cup regular coffee or 1/4 tsp instant granules
- 2 – 4 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 2 – 4 tbs chicken broth or more, depending on how much stock you have from the turkey
- Celery tops
- 1 onion, cut in half
- 1 carrot, cut into chunks
- capon / turkey neck
- 12 (16) slices white bread, dried (use 16 sliced if using giblets), torn into small chuncks
- 1 – 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 – 4 slices Prosciutto, chopped
- 4oz (125gr) mushrooms, chopped – optional, (instead of giblets)
- chopped giblets if you have them
- 1 tbs sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 egg
- Earlier in the day If your bird came with the neck and giblets
- Heat 2 cups of chicken broth with 2 cups of water.
- Add celery tops, onion, carrot, and neck.
- Bring to a boil, skim off any scum that rises.
- Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then add the gizzard and heart.
- Simmer another 20 minutes, skimming.
- Then add the liver.
- Simmer another 20 minutes.
- Strain the stock into a bowl and use in both stuffing and basting.
- Discard the vegetables.
- Finely chop the giblets.
- Pull the meat off the neck and chop.
- Add the meats to the stuffing along with the onions, celery, Prosciutto.
- If you are using the giblets add 4 more slices of bread.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions, celery, (mushrooms) and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add Prosciutto (bacon) and sauté another 5 minutes.
- Set aside.
- Put bread into a large bowl.
- Add sage and thyme and mix well.
- Add celery/onions and chopped giblets and mix well.
- Now comes the hard part:
- I can’t tell you how much stock to use. It depends on how dry your bread is, how moist the celery and onions are, etc.
- Start with 1/2 cup and drizzle over the top of the bread chunks. Mix well.
- Continue adding 1/4 cup at a time and mixing well.
- Mixture should just start to cling together, not all of it but most of it, and none of the bread cubes should be totally dry nor should they be mushy.
- At this stage stop adding stock.
- In small bowl lightly whisk egg.
- Fold into stuffing mixture and combine thoroughly.
- Stuff bird.
- Refrigerate the remaining stuffing until ready to bake.
- Mix 2 tbs of the butter, the herbs and the mustard.
- Loosen skin across top of bird by pinching gently. Work your hand under the skin on the breast.
- With your finger tips rub butter mixture over the breast under the skin, covering as much of the surface as you can.
- Rub the remaining 1 tbs of butter over the outside of the skin.
- Spoon some stuffing inside the cavity loosely, about 3/4 full, and tie legs together.
- Spoon some more stuffing inside the neck cavity and skewer the neck flap closed.
- Put bird on a rack in a roasting pan and into a 450F (230C) degree oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 325F (165C) and roast until temperature in thickest part of thigh reaches 180F (82.2C) or 170F (76.6C) in breast, or until juices run clear when pierced with a knife.
- For a 6 lb bird this should take about 2 1/4 hours; an 8 lb bird 3 hours.
- To baste:
- Combine the coffee and 1 cup stock. Baste the bird every 15 minutes or so alternating between stock, Madeira and the pan drippings.
- An hour before dinner:
- Put the refrigerated stuffing into a roasting pan, cover and put into the oven.
- Bake the stuffing for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake 15 minutes longer.
- Oven temp is whatever works for the rest of the dinner. The stuffing in the bird will be very moist and in the pan rather dry – mix the 2 before serving.
- To finish:
- Remove the bird and put on a platter.
- Cover with a foil ‘tent’ and let rest for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Pour juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan, adding stock to roasting pan to help scrape up the bits on the bottom if necessary.
- Skim off as much fat as you can.
- Add any remaining stock and/or Madeira and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Taste – need anything?
- Give cornstarch mix a stir and slowly whisk into the stock, stirring until thickened to your liking – more or less cornstarch as needed.
- Keep the gravy warm while you carve the bird.
- Remove stuffing from bird – both ends, and combine with baked stuffing.
- Carve, serve with stuffing and gravy on the side.
- Lay the bread out to dry the night before you make the stuffing.
- Substitute chicken broth for the stock.
- Substitute bacon for Prosciutto
- I have used anything from proper turkey skewers to toothpicks to safety pins for securing the bird after stuffing.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 1074
- Sugar: 4.6 g
- Sodium: 673 mg
- Fat: 70.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 22.3 g
- Trans Fat: 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 25.3 g
- Fiber: 2.3 g
- Protein: 75.9 g
- Cholesterol: 375.8 mg
Keywords: roast turkey, roast capon, holidays
For two: Roast, Stuffed Cornish Hens
4 thoughts on “Roast Turkey or Capon with Stuffing”
Is that a capon you show at the end? It looks delicious! Lovely evenly browned. I think I mentioned I’d made a 21 pound turkey for Thanksgiving this year. I stuff my turkey too when I roast it, but I do put eggs in my stuffing so I nuke my stuffing for about 10 minutes before stuffing the bird. It helps the stuffing to cook properly and helps the bird to as well when it’s that big. I do a standing rib roast on Christmas eve though. I’ll pick it up Thursday and salt it, then stick it in the fridge until Saturday. I’m boring. Turkey on Thanksgiving, rib roast for Christmas and ham on Easter. :/
It’s a capon. Even if I could find a turkey that big here I wouldn’t be able to fit it in my oven. And I bought the biggest oven I could find. Big stoves / cookers here will have 3 or 4 small ovens rather than 1 large one. In the U.S. I could easily bake 4 loaves of bread at once. Here 2 barely fit. It’s a challenge lol
Coffee in stuffing! How interesting! We’ll have to try that in the new year. (I’m afraid that we have to wait; for Christmas, we HAVE to have the stuffing made from my mother’s ancient Scottish family recipe. For us, it’s the only kind of stuffing for holiday bird.)
Alas, virtually all the capons we can get – even from our excellent butcher – have all the innards, including the giblets, removed. I wonder if we can ask for them.
Here I’m very happy if the head and feet are gone. Of course the giblets are included! I wonder what happens to them in your area? Used by the butcher to make pate? Sold for dog food?
One must honor holiday traditions. I bought an extra capon for January.
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