ROAST WILD TURKEY WITH CORNBREAD AND CRAWFISH STUFFING

Prep Time: 3 Hours
Yields: 8–10 Servings

Ingredients for Turkey:
1 (8–10 pound) wild turkey
3 gallons turkey brine (see recipe below)
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
1 (17-ounce) bottle garlic turkey injector marinade
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsps granulated garlic
3 cups chicken or turkey stock, divided
2 tbsps cornstarch
½ cup dry sherry

Method for Turkey:
Add brine to a clean 5-gallon plastic bucket. Place turkey, breast side down into brine, adding more cold water to cover if necessary. Cover and keep cool for 6 hours. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey on a sheet pan, cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook turkey, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove turkey from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. While turkey is resting, make stuffing (see below). Season turkey well inside and out with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Stuff turkey cavity quickly with hot stuffing, packing it well. This will help the bird cook faster. NOTE: When placing hot stuffing in a cold bird, it must go into the oven immediately, otherwise the bird and stuffing may spoil. You should stuff with cold dressing if you are not certain when you will cook the bird. Tuck neck skin under the back of turkey and secure with toothpicks. Place turkey in a greased roasting pan and inject joints with garlic marinade. Roast in oven, uncovered, 45 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and place cheesecloth over turkey breasts, legs and thighs. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and 2 tablespoons of granulated garlic and mix well. Baste turkey with garlic butter and return to oven. Roast turkey until internal temperature reaches 165°F, basting with butter every 45 minutes. Remove turkey from pan and discard cheesecloth. Set aside and keep warm. Place roasting pan over medium heat on stovetop. Add 2 cups of stock, scraping to release browned bits then bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, combine remaining stock and cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Add cornstarch slurry to roasting pan and cook 3–5 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add sherry and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. To serve, carve turkey and top with sauce.

Ingredients for Stuffing:

2 pounds crawfish tail meat, with fat
4 cups corn bread crumbs
½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced green bell peppers
¼ cup minced garlic
1 quart chicken or turkey stock
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
Creole seasoning to taste

Method for Stuffing:
In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic and sauté 5–7 minutes or until tender. Add crawfish and heat through. Stir in corn bread then add stock, one ladle at a time, until a semi-loose stuffing is achieved. Adjust seasonings to taste using salt, pepper, granulated garlic and Creole seasoning. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before stuffing turkey.

TURKEY BRINE

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Yields: 2½ Gallons

Ingredients:
1½ cups salt
½ cup sugar
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried thyme
7 whole cloves
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 quart hot water
2 gallons cold water

Method:
In a large saucepot, combine all ingredients except cold water, mix well and bring to boil. Cook until salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour brine into a clean 5-gallon plastic bucket and stir in cold water. To brine turkey, place cleaned turkey, breast side down, into brine and add more cold water if needed to cover bird. Cover bucket and brine turkey for 6 hours in a cool place. After 6 hours, remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Place turkey on a pan lined with paper towels and refrigerate overnight.

From “After the Hunt: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Wild Game & Game Fish Cookery,” Chef John Folse, Owner & CEO of Chef John Folse & Company, 2517 South Philippe Avenue, Gonzales, La. 70737, http://www.jfolse.com.

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