Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer
Roast Turkey
Serves 8

This recipe, from SAVEUR contributor Elmer Grossman, yields a Thanksgiving turkey that is moist, delicious, and a perfect foil for inventive accompaniments, such as the Madeira–Truffle Butter, Multicultural Stuffing, and Rich Gravy recipes we’ve included here. Just garnish the bird with a few sprigs of fresh herbs before servings, and you’ve got the makings of a lovely holiday dinner.

1  12–14-lb. turkey, kidneys discarded, giblets reserved for making Rich Gravy (optional, see recipe below)
2–3 1/2 tbsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Madeira–Truffle Butter (optional, see recipe below)
4–5 cups Multicultural Stuffing (see recipe below)
10 tbsp. butter, softened

Preheat oven to 450°. Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Trim off wing tips and set aside for making gravy, if you like. Season cavity with 1 tsp. of the paprika and salt and pepper to taste. If using Madeira–Truffle Butter, loosen skin from turkey breast by starting at body cavity end and sliding your hand under skin, being careful not to tear it, then rub butter under skin. Spoon Multicultural Stuffing into turkey and neck cavities. Set turkey aside.

2. Combine remaining paprika to taste and 3 tbsp. of the butter in a small bowl and set aside. Put two large sheets (about 4' long) of 18" heavy-duty foil on top of each other on a clean surface to form a cross and grease with remaining butter. Put turkey breast side up in center of foil, rub all over with the paprika butter, and generously season with salt and pepper. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Gather opposite ends of foil together and tightly crimp so that turkey is loosely but completely wrapped in foil with no holes for steam to escape. Put turkey on a rack set inside a heavy roasting pan.

3. Roast turkey for 2 1/2 hours. Remove pan from oven, unwrap turkey, and transfer to a carving board. Pour turkey drippings from foil into a bowl and set aside for making Rich Gravy, if you like. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Return turkey, breast side up, to pan and roast until skin is golden brown and internal temperature of thigh registers 175°-180° (tenting it with foil if it browns too quickly), about 30 minutes more. If temperature of stuffing is below 160°, transfer it to a baking dish and finish it in oven.

4. Transfer turkey to a carving board, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes and any pan juices to reserved drippings. Remove twine, transfer stuffing to a serving dish, and carve turkey.
Madeira–Truffle Butter
Makes 1/2 cup

6 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tbsp. madeira
1 fresh black winter truffle, cleaned and finely chopped

Put softened butter into a medium bowl and whisk until fluffy. Gradually add madeira, whisking until completely incorporated.

2. Add truffle, season to taste with salt, and stir well. Butter will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Multicultural Stuffing
Serves 8

7 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
3 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped
2–7 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch celery, ribs separated and chopped
1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps diced
1  1-lb. loaf challah, cut into 1/2" cubes and set out to let dry for 2–3 days
1 1/2 cups jarred peeled roasted chestnuts, diced
1 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and diced
1–2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
4 tsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
1 egg, lightly beaten
Leaves of 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. chopped leaves of one fresh herb or a mixture, such as thyme, oregano, savory, tarragon, and basil
1/2–1 cup chicken stock, warm

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat 6 tbsp. of the butter and sesame oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add celery, and cook, stirring often, until celery is softened, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until most of their liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.

2. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl, add challah, and toss with a kitchen spoon until well combined. Add chestnuts, water chestnuts, sesame seeds, paprika, egg, parsley, and fresh herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss well.

3. Set 4–5 cups of the stuffing aside if stuffing the turkey. Mix in just enough stock to stuffing in bowl to make it moist but not dense and packed together.

4. Grease a medium baking dish with the remaining butter. Spoon stuffing into dish, cover with heavy-duty foil and bake until hot, about 30 minutes. Uncover dish and bake until golden on top, about 15 minutes more. Garnish with a sprig of parsley, if you like.

Rich Gravy
Makes about 3 cups

You can enrich the stock for this gravy with any odd poultry parts that you may have in your freezer. Make the stock while the turkey roasts in its foil wrapper, then finish the gravy with the turkey drippings while the bird continues to roast unwrapped.

Turkey giblets (including neck) and wing tips from 12–14-lb. turkey, rinsed
5 shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
5 sprigs of one fresh herb or a mixture, such as thyme, oregano, savory, tarragon, and basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
6 tbsp. turkey fat skimmed from reserved turkey drippings
6 tbsp. flour
2 cups reserved turkey drippings, skimmed of fat, or enough turkey drippings with the addition of chicken stock or water to yield 2 cups
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put giblets, wing tips, mushrooms, celery, onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, bay leaf, wine, and 5 1/2 cups water into a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium and gently boil until stock has reduced to about 2 cups, 1–1 1/2 hours. Strain stock into a bowl, setting neck aside, and discard solids. Pick meat off neck bone, add to stock, and discard bones. Skim off any fat from stock and set stock aside.

2. Heat turkey fat in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 4–5 minutes. Gradually whisk in stock and neck meat, then the turkey drippings, and simmer, stirring often, until gravy thickens, 10–15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm in a gravy boat, if you like.