by Morton Thompson
edited by Jeffrey Steingarten

Not for the faint of heart, this one - especially with 20 hungry people waiting in the next room.  The recipe dates back many years, so it may seem a bit archaic in spots - for example, the original references to Coleman's Mustard.

This version of the recipe is from Jeffrey Steingarten's book, "The Man Who Ate Everything", an informative and very funny book.

1 turkey, 16-22 pounds
1 apple
1 orange
20 oz crushed pineapple
1 lemon
10 oz water chestnuts
3 tbs. preserved ginger
5 tsp. Coleman's mustard
2 tsp. caraway seed
3 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. poppy seed
7 tsp. fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. mace
4 tbs. fresh parsley
4 cloves
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1-1/2 tsp. savory
1 tbs. fresh thyme
1 tbs. fresh sage
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. coriander
9 cloves garlic
black pepper
cayenne pepper
4 large onions
6 stalks celery
1-1/2 lb. fresh bread crumbs
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 lb ground veal
1/4 lb ground fresh pork
1/4 lb unsalted butter
six eggs
olive oil
3 tbs. onion juice
3 tsp. lemon juice
3 cups apple cider

The turkey should not be less than 16 pounds and not more than 22.  If it is 18 pounds or more, buy a hen.  You will get more breast.

Remove all loose fat from the inside of the bird and render it by chopping it finely, putting it in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup of water, bringing to a boil, and simmering until all the water has evaporated and you are left with clear fat and pieces of solids.   Reserve the fat for the stuffing, and brown the solids for a treat for your dog.

In a stew pan, put the chopped gizzard and the neck and heart, to which add 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of coriander, 1 clove of garlic, 4 cups of water, and salt to taste.  Let this simmer while you go ahead with the dressing.  Oil the turkey's skin.  This will let the blackened coating lift off more easily later on.   Rub the bird inside and out with salt and pepper.


Dice a peeled and cored apple, dice a peeled orange and put them in a bowl.  Add to this bowl 20 oz of crushed pineapple, the grated rind of 1/2 lemon, 10 oz of drained and coarsely chopped water chestnuts, and 3 tablespoons of chopped preserved ginger.

In a second bowl, put 2 teaspoons of Coleman's mustard, 2 teaspoons of caraway seed, 3 teaspoons of celery seed, 2 teaspoons of poppy seed, 7 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh oregano, 1 well-crushed large bay leaf, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of mace, 4 tablespoons of well-chopped parsley, 4 or 5 finely minced cloves of garlic, 4 cloves minus the heads and well-chopped, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 4 large well-chopped onions, 6 well-chopped stalks of celery, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon savory (summer savory if you can get it), 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

In a third bowl, dump 1 and 1/2 pounds of fresh bread crumbs.  Add to this 3/4 lb of ground veal, 1/4 lb of ground fresh pork, 1/4 lb butter and all the rendered turkey fat.   Mix the contents of each bowl.  When each bowl is well mixed, with your hands mix the three of them together well.  Mix until your forearms and wrists ache.  Then mix it some more.  Now toss it enough so that it isn't any longer a doughy mass.


Stuff your turkey, but not too fully.  Pretty full, though.  Stuff the neck and tie the end.  Skewer the bird and tie the strings.  Better still, sew up the openings and sew the wings to the body.

1 hour before cooking is to begin, turn on your oven full force and let it get red-hot.   You want to have it ready so the stuffing does not sit in the turkey while you wait for the oven.  Open a roasting rack nearly all the way and cover with heavily greased aluminum foil.  Put the bird in it - breast down.  Brown the bird for about 15 minutes. Turn it on its back and brown for another 15 minutes.

While its browning, in a cup make a paste consisting of the yolks of 6 eggs, 3 teaspoons of Coleman's mustard, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 3 tablespoons of onion juice, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 6 pinches of cayenne pepper, 3 teaspoons of lemon juice, and enough sifted flour to make a stiff paste. Take a pastry brush or an ordinary big paintbrush (not used!) and stand by.

After browning has finished, remove the bird.  Turn the oven down to 325 degrees. While the turkey is sizzling hot, leaving it on its back, paint it completely all over with the paste.  Put it back in the oven.  The paste will set in a few minutes.   Drag the bird out again.  Paint every nook and cranny of it once more.   Put it back in the oven.  Keep doing this until you run out of paste.

To the giblet-neck-liver-heart gravy that has been simmering, add 3 cups of cider and 1 cup of water.  Stir it well and don't cook it any more;  Just keep it warm on top of the oven.  This is your basting fluid.  Baste every 15 minutes.  (You will baste the bird from 12-15 times.)

The bird should cook 4-1/2 hours for an 18-pounder, to 5-1/2 hours for a 22-pounder.   Begin timing when you turn the oven down to 325.  An instant meat thermometer should read about 180 to 185 degrees in the thigh between the leg and body, 170 degrees in the breast, and 160 degrees in the stuffing.

When you remove it, the turkey will be dead black.  You will think, "Damn! I've ruined it!"  Be calm.  Using tweezers, screwdrivers and whatever other utensils seem appropriate, pry loose the paste coating.  Hopefully it will come off readily.   Beneath this burnt, harmless, now worthless shell, the bird will be golden and dark brown, succulent, giddy-making with wild aromas, crisp and crunchable and crackling.

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