Jesse Cool
Executive Chef/Owner The Flea Street Cafe,
Author Tomatoes and Onions (Harper Collins SF) Menlo Park, CA

"Roast the turkey breast side down that way all the juices flow into the breast. Until the last hour of cooking time, turn the turkey upside down to brown it.

I frequently don't stuff the turkey because that prolongs the cooking time. What I do instead I flavor the meat by putting fresh herbs sprigs such as thyme, orange slices, and wedges of pomegranates (because they're in season) into the cavity. This seasons the meat and makes the turkey aromatic. If you stuff the turkey, don't overstuff it -- it should be really loose. This allows for a lot of air and room in the cavity to cook faster.

I cook the stuffing on the side either in a casserole or in a squash or pumpkin. I bake the squash or pumpkin half way, put the stuffing in and then bake the rest. It makes a beautiful presentation.

For non-meat eaters, I use a meatless stock for the stuffing and bake it on the side so everyone can eat the stuffing. To make a meatless stock I use celery, parsley, lots of onions, a carrot to make it sweet, dried mushrooms (morels or anything), and a head of garlic. Simmer in a pot on low for a couple hours. Use this stock in stuffing, to make gravy for non-meat eaters, or add to turkey drippings for a gravy.

For leftovers make stock from the turkey carcass. Put bones -- any kind, roasted or not -- onions, carrots,celery in a crock pot. Put it on low and cook it for 8-24 hours. The longer the cooking the better it is. Freeze the stock it in little ziplock bags. This is great for those who don't have time to cook but want to make homemade stock. Cooking it in the crock pot they don't have to worry about it."

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