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Jefferson Turkey

December 21, 2012

20121122 Jefferson Turkey 01

We made this twist on traditional turkey for Thanksgiving. The end result: a very impressive main dish that goes perfectly with the holidays.

This recipe was published in Redbook and comes from the chef of the Jefferson Hotel in D.C. The chef found his inspiration in Thomas Jefferson’s Madeira toast for the Declaration of Independence. If you cannot find any Madeira wine, try substituting Sherry or Marsala. They will taste a bit differently but be just as delicious. Also, try making the sauce ahead of time! It will be one less item to remember while making your next feast!

You will need:

  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c shallots, chopped
  • 2 c Madeira wine
  • 2 c fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 1/2 c chicken stock, divided
  • 1/4 c whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 (14- to 16-lb) turkey***
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1/4 c butter, melted
  • 1/2 c water

***This feeds 12 people generously with some leftovers; feel free to pick the right size for your party…just adjust the roasting time

Then you will…

  1. Start with the glaze, which can be made up to 3 days before your feast.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 6 minutes.
  3. Add the Madeira wine; increase heat and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 15 minutes until the wine is reduced to a thick syrup.
  4. Stir in the cranberries, honey and thyme; reduce heat and cook 6 minutes, until the cranberries start to break down.
  5. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, until thick.
  6. Remove the thyme sprigs.
  7. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth.
  8. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the mustard. Cover, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until needed.
  9. Next, it is turkey time! NOTE: be sure to adjust the cooking times below appropriately if you have a bigger/smaller bird.
  10. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Clean out the body cavities of any organs etc. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water (there is a school of thought that doesn’t like this; up to you). Pat the turkey dry.
  12. Sprinkle the turkey with half of the salt and pepper.
  13. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under.
  14. Place the turkey in a large, heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Brush all over with melted butter and then season with the remaining salt and pepper.
  15. Add remaining half cup of stuck plus the water to the roasting pan.
  16. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting every 45 minutes with pan juices, until the skin is a light golden color.
  17. Loosely cover turkey with foil and continue to roast and baste for another hour.
  18. Remove foil and brush the turkey all over with a thin, even layer of glaze.
  19. Roast another 45 minutes, brushing with remaining glaze every 10 minutes, until a thermometer in the center of the thigh (not touching bone) registers 165 degrees and the turkey is a deep golden-reddish brown.
  20. Transfer the turkey to a board and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 45 minutes before carving and serving.
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