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from the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John
2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large white onions, finely chopped
6 cups cubed cornbread
1 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
3 cups vegetable stock
1 fresh turkey, 12 to 14 pounds
1 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄4 cup hot water
10 uncooked strips of smoked bacon
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
Turkey gizzards, finely chopped and sautéed
1⁄2 lemon, juiced
Remove the top rack from your oven and preheat to 350º F.
Remove the neck, gizzard and liver from the turkey and save for
stock or gravy. Rinse the bird inside and out with cold water
then pat dry. Sprinkle the cavity and outside with salt and
Combine the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with
a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated and the
butter is freckled with green flecks. Season to taste with
salt and pepper. Add the onions and melt 4 tablespoons of
the sage butter in a pan. Sauté while stirring for 15 minutes
or until soft and golden.
Place the cubed cornbread and cranberries into a large mixing
bowl and scrape the onion butter mixture over the top. Add
the beaten egg, cream and approximately 1⁄2 cup vegetable
stock to moisten the cornbread without making it soggy.
Toss well to combine. Add salt and pepper and set aside.
Use your fingers to gently lift the skin from the breast and
legs of the turkey, without ripping it and slip pats of the
sage butter under the skin while massaging it in as you do.
Fill the turkey cavity and neck area with the cornbread
stuffing without packing it too tightly. Cook the remaining
stuffing in a buttered glass baking dish. Truss the turkey
and place it breast up on a rack inside a large roasting pan.
Place it in the oven.
Whisk together the maple syrup and hot water to create a perfect
glaze. Baste the turkey every half hour.
After 2 hours of cooking time, drape the bacon strips over the turkey
breast and continue to roast for the next hour. If the legs are
browning too quickly cover them with foil.
If it has a pop up thermometer it should read 170º . You may
also check it with a meat thermometer between 3 1⁄2 and 4 hours.
While you are waiting the 20 minutes to carve the turkey, skim the
fat off the pan drippings and place the pan on medium heat over
two burners of your stove. Scrape the brown bits from the bottom
of the pan. Add the gizzard pieces. Whisk the flour into the pan
drippings. Continue to stir to prevent lumps. Add the remaining
stock and lemon juice to punch up the flavour and pleasantly challenge
the sweetness of the maple syrup. Bring to a simmer. Continue to
simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Serve in a warmed gravy boat.