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Sweet touch for Thanksgiving turkey

Charlie Abowd
For the Nevada Appeal

Thanksgiving being a family holiday and hopefully shared with family and friends, Karen and I have put our heads together to come up with some new ideas for your table.

Our wine recommendations to serve with this dinner are a nice Alsatian Gewurztraminer or a Sauvignon Blanc. A good Riesling would be a wonderful choice as well. I prefer the German Riesling over the domestic variety.

What you should do is spend some time with our local wine merchants (Ben’s Liquors, Aloha Discount Liquors to name a few) and take advantage of their wealth of knowledge about these wines.

As a personal note, as we always do during the holiday seasons, we implore you to help others who may not be as fortunate. There are many turkey drop-offs such as Mike’s Pharmacy, FISH, Advocates, Food for Thought, etc. Find one and give. In this economy it’s not just the faceless but our friends and family members who have been deeply touched. Invite a new face to your table. Enjoy the true meaning of Thanks … giving.

P.S. This will be our last column for this year but Karen and I will be returning in the New Year with a plethora of family recipes from our trip to Lebanon. See you in February and as always enjoy! enjoy! enjoy!

• Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele’s. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City since 1980. Charlie is a fourth-generation restaurateur.

TURKEY BRINE

3⁄4 cup kosher salt

3⁄4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons dry sage

12 fresh sage leaves, whole

1 tablespoon cinnamon

12 whole cloves

3 oranges, quartered

4 cups maple syrup

4 cups apple juice

Add enough cold water to cover turkey in a large stock pot.

When you make the brine, I recommend that you dissolve the salt and brown sugar in the apple juice on the stove over medium heat. Heat just until they are dissolved and then add a little ice to bring the temperature back to cold.

Put this mixture and the remaining ingredients in a pot large enough to hold your turkey and add enough water to totally immerse the bird. After it has sat for 24 hours rinse the turkey and pat it dry. It is now ready to prepare for roasting.

SOURDOUGH STUFFING WITH APPLES, CRANBERRIES, WALNUTS AND KIELBASA SAUSAGE

1 large sourdough round loaf cut into 3⁄4 inch squares

(Lightly cut hard crust off. You do not have to be exact in cutting off crust or the size of the squares)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups yellow onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 cups celery, chopped

1 pound kielbasa sausage, 3⁄8 inch slices or half rounds

2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

1⁄2 cup dried cranberries

2 cups turkey stock

1 tablespoon dried sage

3⁄4 cup walnuts, halved (I like to roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Also, when you open the package make sure the nuts have not gone rancid.)

salt and pepper to taste

To make the stuffing, buy a large, round sourdough loaf. They are approximately 11⁄2 to 13⁄4 pounds. Remove the crust and cut in squares. Place the bread in a baking pan and then in a 325 degree F oven for 30 to 45 minutes to dry the bread. Do not dry it so much that it resembles a crouton. You don’t want it that hard. When the bread is done place it in a large mixing bowl.

In a saute pan heat the olive oil, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add the sausage and cook 5 to 10 minutes and then add the apples and cranberries; cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock and pour the mixture over the bread. Add the dry sage and walnuts. Mix well and be sure that the stuffing is not dry. If it is too dry add some more turkey stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Do not cook the walnuts in the saute mixture; roast them if you prefer. Cooking them will take the crunch out of them. Also, if you prefer, chop the nuts. I simply prefer the texture of using halved ones.

Even though it is not on the ingredients list some of the old timers like to add a couple of raw eggs to the stuffing. If you do this, mix very well.

SAGE GRAVY WITH MAPLE SYRUP

1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups turkey stock, hot

1⁄2 cup apple juice, hot

3⁄4 cups milk, hot

1⁄2 cup maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

Thanksgiving gravy is always a big topic when preparing the dinner. Making gravy is not an exact science so keep your eyes open to the texture and consistency of the gravy.

I like to use the drippings from the turkey and stuffing, so after removing the bird I use a wire whisk and scrap up all of the bits and pieces in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the pan over medium high heat and whisk in the flour, making sure that it is well saturated with the natural juices from the bird. Slowly pour in the turkey stock and apple juice, whisking constantly.

It is important that the stock and juice are hot. Adding them while cold is what brings flour lumps to your gravy.

Whisk the gravy until it starts to bubble. Slowly start adding the hot milk. Add just enough to get a consistency of a good smooth gravy. You may or may not have to use all of the milk.

Because measuring flour is an inexact science and because of the consistency and denseness of the flour, it is very important that in the final stage of gravy making that you pay close attention to these instructions.

If you have used all of the milk and the gravy is still too thick use more hot turkey stock or hot water. Use salt and pepper at the end to your taste. At the very end pour in the maple syrup. Again, let your taste be your guide. I like my gravy to have a very strong maple flavor but this may be too sweet for you.

As a personal note, I like to take the giblets from the stock pot, finely chop them and add to my gravy. Some people like a smooth gravy versus a country-style so just pour it through a fine mesh strainer into your gravy boat.

TURKEY

Cooking time for stuffed turkey: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook approximately 20 minutes per pound or until the temperature of the bird reaches 170 to 175 degrees. Let turkey sit (or rest) after roasting for about 45 minutes before carving.

When brining the turkey it is important that it is rinsed thoroughly after removing it from the packaging. The neck, gizzard and liver must be removed, rinsed and set aside for making the turkey stock, which will be needed for the stuffing and gravy.

To prepare the turkey, season the cavity with salt and pepper before adding the stuffing.

The stuffing will be put in the turkey when the turkey has been roasting for one hour.

I recommend that you season the outside of this turkey with a dry rub of 1 tablespoon dry sage, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and half a tablespoon of fresh black pepper. Rub this into the bird and then use 2 tablespoons soft butter and rub it onto the breasts.

Place the turkey in the oven at 350 degrees F and cook for one hour. Remove it and stuff the bird with the warm stuffing. Place back in the oven and roast for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until the temperature of the bird reaches 170 to 175 degrees.

When you put the turkey back in the oven after stuffing it, place foil over the top so that it will not brown too much too soon. I recommend that one hour before the bird is done, remove the foil and also baste every 15 minutes. In the last half hour of roasting, pour a couple tablespoons of maple syrup over the top.

If you don’t want to deal with using hot stuffing, make it one day ahead, place it in the refrigerator and stuff the cold turkey with the cold stuffing just before you place the bird in the oven. I like stuffing the hot turkey with the hot stuffing because the cold method adds time to the roasting procedure and this time has a tendency to make the stuffing dry.

Remember, put the stuffing in the turkey only after it has been roasting for one hour. Make sure the stuffing is warm. The reason for this is that it will be at approximately the same temperature and there is no chance of harmful bacteria forming.