1 turkey (12-15 lbs.) with no rips or tears in the skin, brined overnight* ½ Cupfreshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 lb fresh white mushrooms, minced (by hand, or pulsed in processor) ¼ Cupheavy cream (approximate)
2 Oz dried porcini mushrooms (optional), soaked in warm water until soft ½ Cupdried breadcrumbs (approximate)
6 Oz sweet butter thyme or other fresh herbs, minced (optional)
lemon juice & grated nutmeg to taste (optional) salt & pepper to taste
1 large onion, minced olive oil
1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
InstructionsMake stuffing: Melt 4 oz. butter in large skillet and saute mushrooms over high heat until they give up their liquid and cook dry. (Add optional porcini - drained, squeezed dry, & minced - when mushrooms start to brown.) Season with salt & pepper plus a squeeze of lemon & a bit of nutmeg if desired. Cool & chill. Can be made ahead & frozen.
Melt the remaining 2 oz. butter and saute onion slowly until golden. Salt & pepper. Cool and chill.
In large bowl, blend mushrooms, onions & ricotta well. Add enough parmesan to bring to a firm consistency. A little heavy cream & a handful or two of breadcrumbs will help bind stuffing. Add herbs, salt & pepper to taste. Chill very well.**
Rinse & dry the turkey well. With a sharp knife or poultry shears, cut it down the backbone. Spread it out, breast up, & whack it with the flat of your hand to flatten it. I cut out the wishbone for easier carving later.
Loosen the skin from the flesh along legs, thighs & breast. This is easy to do if the skin is not torn. If you do tear it, it can be patched with needle and thread.
Stuff the bird: use one hand to lift the skin and other to push handfuls of stuffing underneath. Coat the legs & thighs well first, using your clean hand to mold & force stuffing into place. Then coat the breast.
Fold the neck skin flap under the bird. Anchor by folding the wing tips back & under.
Rub the exterior with olive oil, then season with salt & pepper. The bird can be stuffed the night before cooking and refrigerated; the meat picks up even more flavor this way.Roast over a water-filled drip pan at a dome temp of about 325. Smoke is optional; I like apple & pecan. Figure roughly 15 minutes per pound & take the bird off when the breast meat reaches 160 degrees.
Let it rest 30 minutes before carving. No gravy needed.Notes*Brine: 1 cup each kosher salt & sugar to 1 gallon water. Chill brine well before adding turkey.**Stuffing can be made several days ahead & refrigerated. I've even frozen it for months with no significant loss in flavor; if you do this, add some fresh herbs & a little lemon juice after it's defrosted.Number of Servings: Time to Prepare: