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MICHAEL SYMON Lemon Sage Turkey with Savory Bread Stuffing

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Michael Symon teaches you how to safely cook stuffing inside your turkey for Thanksgiving!


Clinton’s Lemon Sage Turkey
1 turkey (thawed, 12-16 pounds)
1 bunch fresh sage
1 lemon (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
1 shallot (minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
3 tablespoons sage (minced)
1 lemon (zested and half juiced)
8 cups baguette and Italian loaf (cut in 1/2-inch cubes)
1 pound Italian sausage (removed from casing)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup onion (finely diced)
1/2 cup celery (finely diced)
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons sage (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon thyme (finely chopped)
2 ounces bourbon (optional)
2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey stock
2 eggs
1/4 cup dried tart cherries (roughly chopped)
1/3 cup parsley (roughly chopped)

For the Turkey: preheat oven to 450ºF. Arrange an oven shelf in the lower third of the oven.
Allow the turkey to come to room temperature. Remove the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavity and pat the turkey dry.
On a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan, arrange the turkey breast side up. Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin of the turkey but carefully running fingers under the skin. Smooth the compound butter under the skin carefully to avoid breaking the skin. Place the sage leaves and lemon slices under the skin. Line the cavity of the turkey with a double layer of cheesecloth. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the savory bread stuffing. Coat the outside of the bird with olive oil and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roast turkey in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes at 425ºF. Turn the oven down to 325ºF and roast until an instant-read thermometer reads 165ºF, about 2 hours.
Raise oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9″x9″ casserole dish. Remove turkey and transfer to a carving board. Remove stuffing from the inside of the bird and place in the casserole dish. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
Meanwhile, cover turkey with foil and allow to rest for about 20 minutes. Carve and serve.
For the Compound Butter: in a large bowl add the butter, shallot, garlic, minced sage, lemon zest and juice and mix to combine. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
For the Savory Bread Stuffing: grease a 9in x 9in enameled casserole dish with melted butter. Place bread cubes on baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Raise oven temperature to 375ºF.
In a large sauté pan, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking into smaller pieces until browned, about 10 minutes. Add butter, onion, celery, celery seed, chili flakes and season with Kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage, thyme and bourbon and cook for 1 minute. Pour over the bread.
Add the stock, eggs, cherries, parsley and mix to combine. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to allow the bread to soften and absorb the liquid. Place stuffing inside of the cheesecloth in the cavity of the turkey.
Helpful Tips:
– Substitute with your favorite kind of sausage.
– Simply eliminate the bourbon or replace with sherry or brandy.
– If you slightly undercook your bird, go ahead and carve the meat. Place the meat on top of a little gravy in a baking dish. Cover and put on a low temperature in your oven until moist and fully cooked.

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