At a traditional Canadian Christmas Dinner or Thanksgiving Meal, a whole turkey has to be on the table, with the whole family gathered around it. We made this menu for the first time and our guests loved it and all went back for seconds!
It takes more time than the usual meal, but it’s really not difficult, so give it a try! The key here is managing your time, so we’ve written the recipe in the order that you should make everything. Just follow the steps and it should be smooth sailing!
Shopping List for 10 people
Turkey with Stuffing:
1 whole Turkey weighing around 10 lbs
8 cups of cubed white bread (8 slices)
1 cup butter (1/2 cup softened for the turkey, ½ cup for the stuffing)
1 cup finely chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
3 tbs. parsley, finely chopped
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 large sprig of thyme
½ cup milk
1 tsp. salt for turkey, 1 tsp. for stuffing
½ tsp. pepper for turkey, 1/8 tsp. for stuffing
pan drippings from turkey
2 tbs. all purpose flour
¼ cup cold water
5 lbs. potatoes
½ cup milk
½ cup butter
1 tsp. salt
Beans with Almonds:
100g almonds, slivered
¼ cup butter
2 tbs. brown sugar
4 cups fresh cranberries (you can also use frozen cranberries if you can’t find any fresh)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Preparation Time: approx. 6 hours
Directions for the Turkey with Stuffing, Beans with Almonds, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce and Gravy
Turkey with Stuffing:
Before beginning make sure that the turkey, if you are using one that was frozen, is completely thawed. Also take the bread out of the bag a few hours before you begin so it can dry out a little bit.
Take the turkey out of the fridge or in cold water (if it was thawing) so it can cool to room temperature. (about an hour before it’s going to go into the oven) While the turkey comes to room temperature you can make the stuffing:
Cut the bread slices into cubes (with or without the crust – you can decide) and set aside in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat, then add the onion and cook until soft. Next, add the celery and cook until tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in the thyme (without the stem), sage, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture to the bread and mix together with your hands. In a separate small bowl slightly beat the eggs together and add the milk. Add the egg mix to the bread mix a little bit at a time tossing lightly with your fingers as you add. When the bread mixture is moist you’ve added enough egg mixture, (you might not need the whole egg mixture) and your stuffing is ready!
If for some reason you aren’t going to stuff and put your turkey in the oven right away, put your stuffing mixture in the fridge until you do use it.
(If you really like stuffing you might want to make slightly more than what this recipe makes.)
Now prepare your turkey:
Preheat the oven to 175 C.
Remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity. Wash the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Coat the inside and outside of the turkey with the butter, salt and pepper. Put the stuffing first into the neck cavity (between the flesh and the skin) and what’s left into the body cavity. (Not to packed in there because the stuffing will expand as it cooks) Place, breast side up, in the roasting pan and cover, making a tent, with aluminum foil. Try to have the foil not touching the turkey. And in the oven it goes. For a 10 lbs. turkey you will need about 3 hours and 45 minutes cooking time.
The first thing you want to make next, while your turkey is in the oven, is the cranberry sauce:
Wash the cranberries and put them together with the sugar and water in a pot and stir just to mix together. Boil for about 5 minutes (on high heat) without stirring, until the cranberry skins have popped. It’s as simple as that! Now stir together one more time and place in a bowl. Cover and let it cool in the fridge. (serve cold)
If you find it’s getting close to eating time and it is not yet cold, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Now you should have a good two hours to take a break from cooking before you continue!
Next (about an hour before your turkey should be ready) peel, wash and get the potatoes in a pot of boiling water. (If you cut the potato’s in half or into quarters they will be ready faster)
Beans with Almonds:
While the potatoes are boiling, make the beans with almonds:
Cut the ends off the beans and wash them. Cook the beans in boiling water for about 3 minutes so they are softer but still crunchy.
While they are in the water, melt the butter in a pan on medium heat then add the almonds to toast them slightly. Add the beans and mix so they are coated with the butter. Remove from heat and sprinkle the brown sugar on top and mix it in. Beans are ready!
Now you should have about 40 minutes left of cooking time for your turkey. Remove from the oven and remove the foil for the last 40 minutes. This will allow the skin to get nice and crispy brown. For the last 40 minutes, baste (pour the liquids from the bottom of the pan over the turkey) every 15 minutes or so.
When the potatoes are soft, drain the water off them. Add the milk, butter and salt and mash. Or you can use a hand mixer to get them really smooth. (add more milk and butter if you want the potatoes creamier)
So, now your turkey should be ready! To check, stick a knife or fork into the thickest part of the thigh and if the liquids run out clear it’s ready. If they run out pinkish just put it back in the oven until it’s ready.
The final step is to make the gravy:
When the turkey is ready remove it from the pan.
Whisk together the flour and water (whisk constantly so you don’t get lumps) then pour the flour mixture into the pan where the turkey was, whisking it together with the drippings in the pan. (Again, whisk constantly) Place over burner and whisk for a few minutes until it begins to thicken. (around 3 minutes)
That’s it! Your delicious turkey dinner is ready! See, it’s not that hard!
If you want, you can also add some corn to the side dishes as we have done. We hope you and your guests enjoy this wonderful meal together!