I hope that everyone had a fun filled Easter weekend. When we were growing up, every big holiday get together consisted of a large turkey dinner. I am sure that it is no surprise that the turkey recipe that I am sharing with you contains bacon as a key ingredient! 🙂
Now, we didn’t always have a bacon wrapped turkey, but once I was introduced to the deliciousness of bacon and turkey, I was hooked and I never looked back. I have shared this recipe with everyone who asks me about the best way to cook a turkey. What I love about it is that you never have to baste your turkey, as the bacon provides the ongoing moisture that is necessary for a perfect turkey dinner.
The stuffing recipe is my sister’s favourite. Again, when we were growing up the thought of sausage and apples in our turkey stuffing seemed very exotic, but Cherie has discovered that this flavour combination is a home-run. Myself, I still prefer a dry stuffing (with only onions and celery for flavour) which is how Grandma made stuffing. A dry stuffing is the perfect vessel to consume more gravy 😉
I have prepared this meal for friends and family. I love how when the turkey comes out of the oven to rest, people seem to make their way into the kitchen to ‘sample’ the bacon from the turkey. The bacon cooks up crisp and irresistible. When you peel the bacon off the turkey, along with it comes some crispy, bacon flavoured turkey skin. Yummy!!!
Of course, I have adapted this to suit my own tastes. When I was introduced to the bacon covered turkey, it was only covered with maybe 4 strips of bacon. Two pieces of bacon covered each side of the turkey breast. Well, you know my motto, if some bacon is good, more is definitely better. When I prepare this now, a whole pound of bacon covers the turkey. If the turkey is small, I have seen myself double up on the bacon. I mean, I am not going to put a couple of strips of bacon back in the fridge 🙂
Over the years, I have found that a maple flavoured bacon works best. Maple, turkey and bacon, it really doesn’t get much better than that. It also helps to bring a maple flavour to the stuffing, which is a great compliment to the sausage and apple stuffing.
While this is cooking, you get the intoxicating scent of turkey and stuffing, along with the sweetness of the bacon. As you get closer to dinner time, it is hard to walk into the kitchen without salivating.
One of the benefits of cooking your turkey with a bacon blanket is that you get first dibs on your pick the bacon. It is only once Jamie and I have taken our pick, that we let our guests know that the turkey has come out of the oven.
Pillsbury – Roast Turkey with Sausage-Apple Stuffing
- 1/2 lb bulk pork sausage
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 8 cups (about 14 oz.) seasoned stuffing bread
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 cups chopped peeled apples
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 lb maple smoked bacon
- 1 (10 to 12-lb.) whole turkey
- Preheat oven to 325°F. In small skillet, brown pork sausage with onion and celery. Do not drain.
- In large bowl, combine stuffing cubes, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and margarine; mix well. Add apples, broth and sausage mixture with drippings; mix well.
- Remove and discard neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Spoon stuffing loosely into neck and body cavities of turkey; do not pack tightly. Set aside remaining stuffing. Turn wings back and tuck tips over shoulder joints. Refasten drumsticks with metal piece or tuck under skin at tail. Fasten neck skin to back with skewers.
- Cover turkey with strips of bacon. Cover the legs, wings and breasts.
- Place stuffed turkey, breast side up, in roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so bulb reaches center of thickest part of thigh but does not rest on bone. Tent foil loosely over turkey.
- Bake at 325°F. for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 165°F. and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. Removing foil during last 30 to 60 minutes of baking.
- While turkey is baking, mix remaining stuffing with additional chicken broth or water to moisten. Spoon into slow cooker. Cover; cook on high setting for 30 minutes. Reduce setting to low; cook until serving time. Mix lightly before serving.