Roast Turkey with Chestnuts
D'Artagnan | Yield: 6 - 8
Even though the French do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they know how to roast a turkey--rubbed in garlic and white wine with a side of glazed chestnuts and buttery mushrooms.
- 1 Organic or Heritage Turkey, 8 to 10lbs
- 2 lemons, halved
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2lbs cooked & peeled chestnuts
- 2 cups milk, plus more as needed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pan drippings
- 1½ lbs organic chef's mix mushrooms, chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 cup full-bodied red wine
- 2 cups turkey (or chicken) stock
- ½ cup crème fraiche
- Wipe the turkey inside and out with paper towels. Rub the skin thoroughly with the cut lemons. For the marinade, mix the garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk in the wine. Gradually whisk in the oil. With your hands, rub some the marinade over the inside and out of the turkey, reserving the rest. Truss the bird, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Set the turkey in the roasting pan, spread it with the butter, and pour over the remaining marinade. Roast until the breast is brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Baste well with the pan juices, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and continue roasting, basting often, for about 2 hours longer. The turkey is done when the meat starts to pull from the leg bones, the juices run clear, not pink, when the thigh is pierced with a skewer, and a thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 degrees F. If the juices start to scorch during cooking, add 1 cup water to the pan and continue roasting.
- Meanwhile, peel the chestnuts and put them in a pan with enough milk to cover. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until the chestnuts are almost tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Do not let them get too soft or they will fall apart when roasted. Drain the chestnuts and put them in a baking dish. Add the drippings with salt and pepper and stir until the chestnuts are coated. Roast in the oven with the turkey until the chestnuts are glazed and very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Set them aside. The chestnuts may be cooked up to a day ahead and reheated before serving.
- For the mushrooms, clean them and cut into pieces if large. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a frying pan over low heat. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper, cover tightly, and cook gently until the juices run, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid, raise the heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates. Cooking time will vary from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the type of mushroom. Cream the remaining butter in a small bowl with the shallots, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper and set it aside. The mushrooms and butter may be prepared up to 6 hours ahead, ready to be reheated.
- When the turkey is cooked, transfer it to a platter, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and keep it warm. For the gravy, pour or spoon off the fat from the roasting pan, leaving the pan juices. Add the wine to the roasting pan and simmer on the stove top, stirring to dissolve the juices, until reduced to 2 to 3 tablespoons glaze. Add the broth and continue simmering until reduced by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan, whisk in the crème fraîche, and bring just to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- To finish, reheat the chestnuts and mushrooms on the stove top if necessary. Discard the trussing strings from the turkey and pile the chestnuts around it on the platter, ready to carve at the table. Stir the shallot butter into the mushrooms, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Pile the mushrooms in a warmed serving dish. Reheat the gravy, spoon a little over the turkey to moisten it, and serve the rest separately.