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Roast turkey thighs on a bed of mushroom stuffing

November 16, 2011
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Serves 8

Many cooks have abandoned the tradition of filling the turkey with stuffing because the breast often dries out before the stuffing is cooked to a safe temperature. In this dish, thighs roast on a pan of stuffing, so the bread soaks up the drippings and juices as the meat cooks. When you take the thighs off the stuffing, return the pan to the oven to crisp the top. Allow time for the bread cubes to dry overnight.

 Butter (for the pan) 

1  ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup water for 15 minutes 

1  tablespoon canola oil 

1  pound sweet pork sausages, pricked well all over 

8  tablespoons (1 stick) butter  

8  ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered 

5  stalks celery, thinly sliced 

2  onions, finely chopped 

2  cloves garlic, finely chopped 

1  cup white wine 

8  cups bread cubes, left out overnight to dry 

1  cup chopped fresh parsley 

2  tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus 16 whole sage leaves 

2  tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 

 Salt and pepper, to taste 

1  cup chicken or turkey stock 

4  turkey thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds each) 

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch roasting pan.

2. Drain the porcini; chop them finely.

3. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the canola oil. Cook the sausages, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan. Cool slightly, and slice thinly.

4. Add 4 tablespoons butter to the skillet. When it melts, add the shiitakes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the celery and onions. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or more. Add the porcini and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Add sliced sausages, and cook 5 minutes more. Pour in the white wine and cook for 3 minutes.

5. In a large bowl, combine mushroom mixture, bread cubes, parsley, chopped sage, thyme, salt, pepper and the stock. Toss well. Transfer to the baking dish.

6. Sprinkle both sides of the thighs with salt and pepper. Gently loosen skin from thighs, leaving it well connected on 3 sides. Break the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Insert several pieces and 4 sage leaves under the skin of each thigh. Place the thighs, skin side up, on the stuffing. Roast for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each thigh registers 165 degrees. Remove thighs from pan and set aside in a warm place.

7. Turn the oven up to 375 degrees. Bake the stuffing for 20 to 30 minutes or until top is brown and crisp. Serve with the thighs.

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