Oyster stuffing is a "love it or hate it" food. But for many Americans, especially cooks in New England, it is the turkey stuffing of choice. (Call it dressing, if you wish.) My cousin Lisa's husband Mike loves oyster stuffing and always brings it as his offering to the family dinner. So, for Mike, and the rest of you for whom it isn't Thanksgiving without oyster stuffing, here is my version, with shiitake mushrooms and leeks coming along for the ride.
Roast Turkey with White Wine Gravy
Makes 12 servings
16-pound turkey, excess fat from tail reserved, neck and giblets reserved for Turkey Stock
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened
7 cups (about) Oyster, Shiitake, and Leek Stuffing (see recipe)
Turkey Stock (see recipe)
6 cups water, as needed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
For Turkey: Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Spoon Oyster Stuffing loosing into neck cavity and main cavity of turkey. Tie legs together. Using small metal skewers, pin neck skin to back to enclose stuffing. Cover stuffing with small piece of foil. Rub turkey with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in large pan. Add reserved turkey fat and 2 cups Turkey Stock to pan. Wrap turkey breast area (not wings) with foil. Roast about 3 hours--baste every 45 minutes with pan drippings, including breast area under foil, replacing foil, only if you feel like it. I am not as dedicated to basting as I used to be. As pan drippings evaporate, add water, 1 cup at a time, to pan.
Remove foil. Baste turkey at this point to help color the skin. Roast turkey, basting again after 30 minutes, until meat thermometer inserted into thigh registers 180°F,, about 1 1/4 hour longer. Transfer turkey to latter. Let stand for 20 minutes before carving.
For Gravy: Strain juices from roasting pan into 8-cup measuring cup. Spoon fat off top of juices, returning 1/2 cup of fat to roasting pan. (Add melted butter, if needed, to make 1/2 cup total fat.) Add enough Turkey Stock to pan juices to measure 5 cups of broth mixture. Add wine.
Heat fat in roasting pan atop 2 burners over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir until mixture is golden, about 2 minutes. Pour in wine, then whisk in broth mixture. Simmer until gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve gravy with turkey.
Oyster, Shiitake Mushroom, and Leek Stuffing
Makes 12 servings
1 pound firm sliced sandwich bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
3 cups chopped leeks (white part only)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1 1/2 pints fresh oysters, drained
1 cup Turkey Stock (see recipe) or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
The day before making stuffing, spread bread cubes on baking sheets. Let stand uncovered overnight to dry. Transfer to a large bowl.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.
Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add celery and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add leeks and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add sautéed vegetables and herbs to mushrooms and stir well. (Vegetables can be prepared 1 day ahead, covered and chilled. Sauté vegetables in a little vegetable oil in a large skillet before using.)
Prehat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Drain oysters, reserving 1/2 cup oyster juices. In 2-cup measuring cup, mix oyster juices and broth. Stir vegetables, broth mixture, salt, and pepper into bread cubes. Reserve 6 to 7 cups for turkey; transfer remainder to preared dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake covered stuffing alongside turkey until heated through, about 45 minutes.
Note: If making stuffing ahead, reheating the chilled vegetables is an important step, because a warm stuffing in a bird will cook to the safe 160°F zone more quickly than a cold one.