Roasted Wild or Domestic Turkey with Corn Bread and Crawfish Stuffing

Roasted Wild or Domestic Turkey with Corn Bread and Crawfish Stuffing
Frank Harris IV's recipe for roasted wild or domestic turkey is sure to spice up your Thanksgiving table. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Frank Harris IV is a very talented chef, and I am happy to say that he was a member of my culinary team at Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant and also on some of my overseas adventures. Frank, like his father and grandfather, is a lover of wild game cooking and an avid hunter. This recipe exemplifies that.

Prep Time: 3 hours

Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Stirrin' It Up: Roasted Wild or Domestic Turkey w/ Corn Bread & Crawfish Stuffing (Nov. 19, 2019)

Ingredients for Turkey:

1 (10–12 pound) brined wild or domestic turkey (see recipe below)

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

1 (17-ounce) bottle garlic turkey injector marinade

2 cups melted unsalted butter

2 tbsps granulated garlic

3 cups chicken or turkey stock, divided

1 tbsp cornstarch

½ cup dry sherry

Method for Turkey:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Remove turkey from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. While turkey is resting, if desired, make stuffing (see recipe below).

When ready to cook turkey, season turkey well inside and out with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. If desired, stuff turkey cavity quickly with hot stuffing, packing it well. This will help the bird cook faster. NOTE: When placing hot stuffing in a cold bird, it must go into the oven immediately, otherwise the bird and stuffing may spoil.

Tuck neck skin under the back of turkey and secure with toothpicks. Place turkey in a large roasting pan and inject joints with garlic marinade (available at most grocery stores).

Roast in oven, uncovered, 45 minutes. Remove turkey from oven.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter and 2 tablespoons granulated garlic and mix well. Baste turkey with garlic butter and return to oven.

Roast turkey until internal temperature reaches 165°F, basting with butter every 30 minutes. Remove turkey from pan, set aside and keep warm.

Place roasting pan over medium heat on stovetop. Add 2 cups stock, scraping to release browned bits, then bring to simmer.

In a small bowl, combine remaining stock and cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Add cornstarch slurry to roasting pan and cook 3–5 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, add sherry, and adjust seasonings to taste with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.

To serve, carve turkey and top with sauce.

Ingredients for Stuffing (optional):

4 cups corn bread crumbs

2 pounds crawfish tail meat, with fat

½ cup unsalted butter

2 cups diced onions

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced green bell peppers

¼ cup minced garlic

1 quart chicken or turkey stock

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

Creole seasoning to taste

Method for Stuffing (optional):

In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, and minced garlic and sauté 5–7 minutes or until tender.

Add crawfish and heat through.

Stir in corn bread, then add stock one ladle at a time until a semi-loose stuffing is achieved.

Adjust seasonings to taste using salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and Creole seasoning.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly before stuffing turkey.

BRINE METHOD FOR TURKEY

Brining is a pre-treatment in which the turkey is placed in a salt water solution known as brine. This process produces a moist and well-seasoned bird. Normally, meat loses about 30% of its weight during cooking, but if you brine the meat first, you can reduce the moisture loss by as much as 15%. By doing so, the bird will have enhanced juiciness and flavor.

Prep Time: 24 hours

Yields: 1 (10–12 pound) turkey

Ingredients:

1 (10–12 pound) wild or domestic turkey

2 quarts water

2 cups table salt

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup honey

4 bay leaves, crushed

1 tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tbsp dried sage

3 tbsps granulated garlic

3 tbsps black pepper

1½ gallons cold water

Method:

Begin brining one day prior to cooking turkey. Use a fresh turkey or other bird, completely thawed. NOTE: Check label to ensure that bird has not been pre-injected with salt or other flavorings, such as the Butterball brand, otherwise it will be over seasoned.

Wash bird completely, removing giblets and neck.

In a 1-gallon stockpot over medium-high heat, place 2 quarts water. Add table salt, brown sugar, honey, bay leaves, thyme, basil, sage, granulated garlic, and black pepper. Whisk thoroughly and bring to a low simmer, stirring vigorously to completely dissolve salt and brown sugar.

Add 1½ gallons cold water. NOTE: I always place the 1½ gallons water in the refrigerator the night before in order to chill the brine completely when mixed with hot ingredients.

Place the cold brine into a 5-gallon IGLOO® cooler and add turkey, legs-up, into the cold brine. Cover tightly and allow to sit in brine for 24 hours.

The brine will remain cold inside of the insulated cooler. If you wish, you may place the cooler in a garage or covered area outdoors.

When ready to cook, remove turkey and rinse thoroughly. Prepare according to Roasted Wild or Domestic Turkey recipe.

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