For a 20 - 25 lb. turkey
Our family is not fond of traditional, bread-based turkey stuffing. So each Thanksgiving we try to find a stuffing recipe that's light yet flavorful. While the stuffings we've had for past Thanksgivings have been tasty, at the end of our dinner we never felt the urge to say “let’s try this one again”. This Thanksgiving's stuffing was different!
We started with two bags of Jansal Valley brand grains from Sid Wainer's shop in New Bedford, Mass. that were sent to us by friends Mary and Keith Kauppila. We built our own recipe around this wonderful gift. It was the best turkey stuffing that we've ever had and we all said "we have to try this one again!”
The portions in the recipe are approximate. We used it to stuff a 22 lb. turkey and had a lot left to bake in a separate casserole dish alongside the turkey.
1 lb. bag Jansal Valley Wild Organic Rice
1 lb. bag Jansal Valley Spelt (Farro)
1 ˝ lbs. country sausage meat
5 pears (any variety is fine)
3 medium size bulb fennel
5 TBS candied orange peel
bunch of fresh oregano
bunch of fresh parsley
(I didn't add onions because of family allergies, but they would be a nice addition.)
the rice and spelt in
unsalted water, separately,
until well done. Drain and set aside. This
will yield about 4-5 quarts of cooked grain.
Sauté the sausage
meat until the pink is gone. Mince the cooked meat
in a food processor to make it a uniform size.
Cut the bulb fennel into
small cubes. Sauté in an ample quantity of butter over medium heat. When soft, add
about 3 TBS sugar. Continue to cook over high heat,
stirring constantly, until the cubes take on a
slightly caramel color.
Remove the core from each
pear and cut into cubes about the size of the fennel.
Chop oregano and parsley.
Dice the orange peel.
Mix all of the ingredients together and stuff the turkey according to your usual method.
(I highly recommend brining the turkey to make the meat moist.)
Organic Wild Rice: If you can't find Jansal
Valley brand organic wild rice, don't use regular wild rice.
It would be too strong for this recipe. The Jansal Valley version has
a light flavor compared to regular wild rice. If
you can’t get the Jansal Valley version, then I suggest combining regular wild
rice and brown rice in a ratio of 1:4.
Salt: I did not add salt to
any part of the stuffing because I brined my turkey. The brine left
enough salt in the cavity of the bird
so that it wasn't
necessary to salt the stuffing.
Brining the Turkey:
The best recipe for turkey brine that I've found
is from Chez Panisse.
2 1/2 gallons of cold water (or enough to completely cover the turkey)
2 cups kosher salt (do not use regular salt, it's too salty)
1 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and smashed
5 whole allspice berries
4 juniper berries
- Place in the ingredients in a large container and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Add the turkey and enough additional water to cover the turkey completely.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours. (I brined my turkey for 48 hours and it was WONDERFUL!)
Peel: I had some preserved
clemintines on hand and used 4 of those. You could
also used candied orange peel or even orange zest, but need
to adjust the quantity. Add enough to give the stuffing a slight hint
of orange flavor. It should not be a predominant
Extra Stuffing: After I stuffed my 22 lb. bird, I had a lot of stuffing left over so I heated in a separate casserole for about 30 minutes.