I just had to know if that other method of de-boning a chicken/turkey, the one where you start at the breasts and work around to the back, was any better than the one where you start at the backbone, and I’m glad I tried it before Thanksgiving, because I now know not to use it on the turkey. I’ll stick with the traditional method of starting at the backbone. See videos of the two methods here: Turkey Planning or Am I Crazy? I didn’t have any trouble taking the carcass out and keeping the skin intact, but I ended up creating two holes trying to get the wing bones out. I had a terrible time getting the leg bones out, as well, something that wasn’t hard in the other method. In addition, I don’t like how this method leaves the breast meat on the outside edges instead of mostly in the center. Yes, you can move the tenders to the center and butterfly the breasts to fill in empty spaces, but I found it easier in the other method.
Anyway, I decided to make this roll different from last week’s with a fruit and nut stuffing. I happened to have dried unsweetened apricots and walnuts on hand, so that seemed like a good way to vary the stuffing. I had already picked up a loaf of Pain de Campagne for the bread crumbs, and I always have celery and onion on hand. The stock from the carcass and other bones was simmering on the stove, so it was easy to put together while the de-boned chicken rested in the fridge.
This time, I set up a large cutting board in a sheet pan lined with paper towels to keep the work mess contained. As you can see, it all worked out, and the good news is that once stuffed and rolled up, it still makes a company-worthy main dish.
Apricot Walnut Stuffing
I made this stuffing with fresh bread, because I like a soft crumb, but you can toast the crumbs in the oven to dry out and brown first, or you can use croutons.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 large onion, diced
1 cup chopped celery, preferably from the innermost stalks with leaves
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
about 5 cups bread crumbs, pulsed in the food processor until roughly chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Stir in onion and celery, cooking until translucent.
- Stir in apricots, walnuts, and herbs to combine.
- Stir in bread crumbs or pour butter mixture over crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
- Slowly add chicken stock to moisten stuffing mixture so that the crumbs are still distinct. You might not need all the stock, depending on the texture of your bread. Very fresh bread that has not been allowed to become stale will need a lot less stock. Also keep in mind that the apricots, even though dried, will release some moisture into the finished stuffing.
- Stuff your bird or pork chops or whatever meat you’re having, or place in buttered dish and bake at about 375° for 25 minutes or until browned.
I must say that I am the worst at slicing these rolls and have tried all kinds of knives. It doesn’t really matter, but it does annoy me. The larger turkey will have to cook longer, so maybe it will hold together better.