I love Thanksgiving turkey!
What memories sitting around the table with the family and starting Thanksgiving dinner with a large antipasto made up of olives, cheeses, sliced salami and dried sausage. Just a little starter to get the appetite in full swing. After that my mother would serve us a large helping of manicotti with my mother’s delicious tomato sauce. Or some years she would make a lasagna with tiny meatballs and sausage or baked ziti. Once we were done eating the pasta the table would be cleared and all the side dishes would come out. Sweet potatoes, string beans with garlic and oil, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed peppers, mashed potatoes, sauteed broccoli rabe, eggplant rollatini, a large tossed salad, and oh yea, the turkey. Complete with gravy, stuffing (made with Italian sausage) and cranberry sauce.
This was an American Thanksgiving Italian style. A combination of both worlds and cultures. Not sure if the Pilgrims had lasagna on their first Thanksgiving, but we sure did! Our plates were overflowing with all the turkey and side dishes we tried to fit on it. Some of us piled it on high when we ran out of plate. And for dessert, what else, but pumpkin pie, fruit, nuts, apple pie, Aunt Mary’s Cassata cheese cake, Italian pastries and sliced fennel bulbs….just to help with the digestion. It’s a wonder that anyone made it to the sofa before falling asleep. And if you did fall asleep the smell of the espresso coffee would fill the air and encourage everyone back to the table.
This roast turkey thighs with stuffing is something I threw together this past weekend because I wanted a little bit of Thanksgiving early. You can make this dish any time of year and have it from preparation to your plate in about 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy it with a tossed salad. If you miss the lasagna or manicotti you will just have to wait till next Thanksgiving.
Roast Turkey Thighs with Stuffing
- 2 turkey thighs
- 4 slices whole wheat bread including the two end pieces
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 3 fresh sage leaves
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 2 fresh oregano sprigs
- 1/2 apple, any kind, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Take the sliced bread and cut them into cubes. Place in a large bowl.
In a medium size skillet, fry the two slices of bacon till crisp. Take out the bacon, save the drippings in the pan. Chop up the bacon when cool.In the same hot skillet with the bacon drippings add the onion, celery, carrot, apple and garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes. Add 2 of the minced sage leaves,1 of the chopped rosemary sprigs and and one sprig of the chopped oregano. Continue to stir and cook till well incorporated.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add a cup of boiling water to the chicken bouillon cube and stir to dissolve the cube.
Add the cooked vegetables, along with the crumbled bacon to the cubed bread and mix well. Add 1/2-3/4 cup of the chicken bouillon and stir till you get the right consistency. The bread should absorb most of the bullion. Add salt and pepper. Pour in half of the beaten egg and mix the stuffing well.
Spread the stuffing on the bottom of a greased roasting pan to about the width and length it would take to cover it with the turkey thighs.
Rinse the turkey thighs and dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper the turkey and sprinkle with garlic powder on both sides. Place the turkey thighs on top of the stuffing, making sure the turkey covers all the stuffing.
In a small microwave safe bowl add the butter and the remainder of the chopped sage, rosemary and oregano. Place in the microwave oven for about 40 seconds to melt the butter.
Pour the herb butter mixture over the turkey thighs, skin side up, making sure the butter covers all of the skin.
Bake in the oven for about an hour or until the turkey skin is golden and crisp.
Serve the turkey with the stuffing and a side of cranberry sauce.