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"We cook turkey for New Year's Eve," explains Ugur Oskay, owner of Bistro Turkuaz.
Ever since Turkey switched to the Georgian calendar in 1926, the nation's celebrated New Year's at the end of December. And while Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, many Turks have adapted western Christmas customs for the New Year's holiday. They exchange gifts, string lights, trim a Y?lba?? A?ac?, or New Year tree, and eat a turkey dinner.
As a way of ensuring a sweet next year, the turkey's traditionally stuffed with chestnuts. Oskay generously provided the following "old family recipe" for kestaneli Hindi.
"Afiyet olsun!," he adds. (That's Turkish for bon appetit.)
12 lb turkey
1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 sage leaf
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp rosemary
1. Mix all ingredients in a small food processor
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 pound turkey or lamb liver cut in to small pieces +2tbsp olive oil for saute
2 tbsp chopped flat parsley
1 cup chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup currents
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1½ cups chicken broth
Note: We cook turkey stuffing separately, not in the cavity, which makes it easier to cook the turkey more evenly.
1. Make a slit on flat side of each chestnut, then place in a large pot with enough water to cover and boil until tender.
2. Remove from heat, and peel off the skin and fibers.
3. Saute the liver with 2 tbsp olive oil until lightly browned set a side.
4. In a large pan, heat 1/4 cup of the oil and saute onion for 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and continue stirring, then add pine nuts, currents, cinnamon, paprika, all spice, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Simmer covered for 7 to 8 minutes, and continue to simmer until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat cool slightly and add chestnuts,browned liver and fresh dill and parsley.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Wash and trim excess fat from inside the turkey cavity and drain.
3. Rub the herbal mix underneath the skin.Rub the outside of the turkey with 1/4 c. olive oil. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle pepper over the turkey.
4. For flavor, put a yellow onion, peeled and quartered, a bunch of parsley and an orange, peeled and quartered, inside the turkey. Close up the turkey cavity with metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey's legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey to hold the wings in close.
5. Place turkey breast down on the bottom of the rack over a sturdy roasting pan. Add several sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey. Cover with foil and place towards the bottom of the pre-heated oven.
6. Start the cooking at 375 F for the 3 hours. Keep the turkey covered with foil until the last 30-40 min. If you want the breast to be browned as well, you can turn the bird over so that the breast is on top, and put it in a 500°F oven for 4-5 minutes, just enough to brown the breast.
7. Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Remove the onion, orange and parsley from inside the turkey.
8. Fill the turkey cavity with stuffing and sew closed. Place turkey in a pan. Bake for another 1 hour, until turkey is tender and cooked through, basting with juices every 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Cover the turkey with clean foil and leave it to rest in a warm place for 20-30 minutes before carving.