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Thanksgiving | THE CLASSICS

The Feast Goes On

November 22, 1998

On Wednesday, we printed four of our favorite turkey recipes from years past: Ultimate Turkey, Yucatan Turkey Pibil, Roast Brined Turkey and Roast Turkey With Garlic, Maui Onions and Lemons. Two more recipes, Picadillo-Stuffed Turkey and Chinese American Thanksgiving Turkey With Rice and Sausage Stuffing, complete the set of our classics and will take adventurous cooks beyond the basic turkey.

Proud Picadillo

When we asked readers in 1995 to give us their best turkey recipes, Julie Miranda of Sylmar sent us this picadillo-stuffed turkey recipe, which comes from "Rice and Beans and Tasty Things: A Puerto Rican Cookbook" by Dora Romano. Some of the tasters like the picadillo so much they completely ignored the turkey.

Picadillo-Stuffed Turkey

Active Work Time: 50 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 12 hours 10 minutes

PICADILLO STUFFING

1/4 cup oil

1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup finely chopped onion

6 pimento-stuffed green olives

2 tablespoons capers, minced

1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos with liquid

1/2 cup seedless raisins

2 cups applesauce

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

* Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork slightly and add salt. Remove to separate bowl and set aside.

* Discard all but 1 tablespoon browning oil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add onion and saute 5 minutes.

* Add olives, capers, pimentos and their liquid and cook 5 minutes.

* Add raisins and reserved pork. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

* Remove pan from heat. Add applesauce and eggs. Mix well. Stuffing may be made day ahead. Refrigerate or freeze if not using immediately. Do not stuff turkey until just before roasting.

TURKEY

8 cups water

Vinegar

1 (12-pound) turkey

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

12 small cloves garlic, pureed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 cup olive oil

6 1/2 cups Picadillo Stuffing

Oil or melted butter

2 cups giblet stock or water

1 onion, chopped

* Combine 4 cups water with 1/2 cup vinegar. Rinse turkey in vinegar mixture, drain well and soak 1 hour in separate 4 cups water mixed with lemon juice. Drain well and pat dry.

* Loosen skin over turkey breast with fingers, starting at neck opening and moving toward tail. Be careful not to tear skin.

* Rub salt into bird cavity, over skin and between skin and flesh. Put softened butter under skin covering breast.

* Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, poultry seasoning and olive oil in bowl. Place bird in nonreactive container. Rub skin all over with garlic marinade and dribble with 2 tablespoons vinegar. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.

* Next day, remove bird from refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Just before roasting, stuff bird loosely through neck opening with Picadillo Stuffing. Sew shut with cotton thread or secure with skewers. Stuff bird through tail 3/4 full to allow for expansion. Sew or skewer shut.

* Truss bird. Rub turkey all over with oil or melted butter. Place turkey breast-side down on rack in roasting pan. Pour stock and chopped onion into pan.

* Roast turkey at 325 degrees, basting often. After 1 1/2 hours, turn turkey on back and continue roasting until nicely browned and thermometer inserted into deepest part of thigh reads 165 degrees, about 15 minutes per pound. Remove from oven and let stand 20 minutes before carving.

12 to 15 servings. Each of 12 servings: 920 calories; 3,637 mg sodium; 361 mg cholesterol; 66 grams fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 67 grams protein; 0.59 gram fiber.

Super Steamer

Each year before Thanksgiving, we print our tried-and-true turkey recipes. And each year we also give you something new.

Last year, the hands-down winner of new turkeys was Ken Hom's steamed turkey stuffed with sausage and glutinous rice from his new cookbook, "Easy Family Recipes From a Chinese-American Childhood" (Knopf, 1997). The turkey is steamed, making it wonderfully moist, then it's roasted to crisp and brown the skin. This turkey graced many of our own Thanksgiving tables last year and even made the list of Food's Top Ten recipes for 1997.

Chinese American Thanksgiving Turkey With Rice and Sausage Stuffing

Active Work Time: 50 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 12 hours 30 minutes

STUFFING

3 cups sweet rice (also known as glutinous rice)

1 cup dried black mushrooms

1 1/2 pounds ground pork

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry

2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root

Turkey giblets (heart and gizzard only), chopped

1 pound Chinese pork sausage, chopped

1/2 pound fresh water chestnuts, peeled and coarsely chopped, or canned

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

* Cover rice with cold water and soak overnight. Drain thoroughly.

* Soak mushrooms in warm water 20 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid. Remove and discard stems. Coarsely chop caps.

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