It never fails: Every November, someone on social media asks when I’ll have our turkeys ready for Thanksgiving. My reply remains the same: Our turkeys squirm around too much for me to even attempt to dress them for dinner, and a turkey wouldn’t know how to behave at the table anyway.
Yes, I might be just a tad flip with my reply, but we make it very clear online that ours is a breeding farm. Processing our birds to sell as meat would significantly lower our breeding stock.
It would also make Alexandra Royal Palm (pictured above) quite mad.
That said, this doesn’t mean we don’t know how to prepare holiday fare. I have many traditional poultry recipes dating back to my great-grandmother’s days in Scotland. I’ve modified them for more modern times, but they’re every bit as flavorful as their original versions, and many are perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any time that family and friends come together. Here are three.
1. Bubbledy Jock
- 1 12- to 14-pound turkey, fresh (or thawed) and cleaned out
- 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 dozen roasted chestnuts, shelled and coarsely chopped
- 1 turkey liver, sautéed and finely minced
- 1 pound pork or turkey sausage, casing removed
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 3 cups chicken (or turkey) stock
- 1 tablespoon red raspberry jelly
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and lower the rack. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the milk until just moistened. Add the parsley and thyme, blending well. Add the celery, chestnuts and liver, stirring until well mixed. Stuff the body cavity of the turkey with this breadcrumb mixture, taking care not to densely pack the stuffing. Stuff the neck cavity of the turkey with the loose sausage meat, folding the neck skin shut over the top. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and brush with the melted butter. Pour a half cup of the stock into the pan around the turkey. Cover the bird with an aluminum-foil tent and roast in the oven for 20 minutes per pound, basting with the butter frequently throughout the cooking time.
Once the turkey is fully roasted, remove it from the roasting pan and place it on a warmed serving platter. Skim the fat from the roasting pan, then add the remaining stock, the jelly, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend well. Pour this mixture into a saucepan, then bring to a boil. Let boil for two minutes, then reduce the heat to medium, stirring constantly, until the sauce is reduced to your preferred consistency. Serve with the turkey.
2. Turkey Puff Pie
- 1 pound turkey meat, chopped roughly into inch-wide pieces
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2/3 cup port wine
- 1 pound turkey or pork sausage, casing removed
- 1 8-ounce package puff pastry
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup chicken (or turkey) stock, warmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Dredge the turkey pieces in the flour mixture, then place in a 2-quart casserole. Pour the port wine over the top of the turkey pieces, then cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until turkey is cooked through. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cover the turkey with an even layer of sausage. Cover the meat with a layer of puff pastry. Cut a dime-sized hole in the center of the pastry to allow the contents to vent. Brush the pastry evenly with the beaten egg, then bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. If the pastry begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Once the pie is done, remove from the oven and slowly pour the stock through the vent hole into the pie. Do not overfill; you might not need all of the stock. Gently shake the pie pan to allow the stock to settle into the sausage and turkey. Let set for 15 minutes, then serve.
3. Stovetop Turkey
- 4 pounds of turkey meat, white and dark
- 1 stick salted butter
- 1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 3 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Melt half the stick of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown the turkey pieces a few at a time, ensuring that they are all golden brown on all sides. Place the browned turkey on a platter; keep warm. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Carefully place one layer of onions, then cover with a layer of potato slices. Cover the potatoes with a layer of turkey meat. Chop the remaining butter into small pieces. Dot the turkey meat with bits of chopped butter. Repeat the layers of onions, potatoes and turkey. Top the turkey with more bits of butter, then top with a final layer of potatoes. Carefully pour the stock over the top of the layers. Place the lid on the pot, then simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the turkey is tender and the potatoes are cooked through. Check from time to time to see whether more stock is needed and (if so) add it. Sprinkle with parsley prior to serving; season with salt and pepper to taste.