All the winter squash is coming to famers markets, the smell of spicy leaves is starting to flavor the air. I first threw this together for a Samhuinn celebration, but since then I’ve used it at the first sign of autumn. It’s too good to only have once a year. And, if you’re looking for something new and different for your turkey this Thanksgiving, make sure to Pin this recipe to your board! It also works well if all you’re cooking is a turkey breast. I suppose you could also just bake some thawed chicken breasts in the veggie/fruit mix, but it’s just not as romanic as a stuffed bird!
Paleo Diet? Don't make the gravy, just serve!
Vegans? Add more nut, less chicken (wink wink!)
Whatever you choose, you just can’t lose with this one.
One whole thawed chicken (3-4 pounds)
1 lb., or 2 cups chopped winter squash
1 apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped (or 2 medium shallots)
1 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1/4 cup raisins or currants
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries, or more cranberry
1/2 cup Sherry
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sage
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp garam masala
cracked white pepper (a few grinds, or 1/4 tsp powdered)
2 Tbsp Sherry
3 Tbsp Garbanzo Bean Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp garam masala
about 2 cups drippings, broth, water, or milk
Pre heat your oven to 350F.
Check the weight of the bird and write it down somewhere close to you. Calculate how many minutes for baking by multiplying the weight of the bird by 35 (or 25 if you are Not going to stuff it). Divide this by 60 to get how many hours to bake. Round up to the nearest quarter decimal (0.25 =15 min, 0.50= 30 min., 0.75=45 min.) Write down this time somewhere nearby.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk sherry and cornstarch to combine. Add other herbs and spices. Add fruits and nuts, toss well. Finally add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat evenly. There will be a little liquid settling in the bottom.
Place the chicken in a 9x9 or larger baking dish. Stuff the inside with some of the Harvest mixture, and pour the rest on top, allowing the juices to flow over the top of the bird. Use a spoon to spread out the mixture evenly, and cover the baking dish with foil or an oven safe lid. Bake for the directed time (or the time that you calculated and wrote down!).
Once the bird has baked, remove it from the oven. It's always nice to check the internal temperature, although I don't usually. Stick a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the breast and check, you should be at 165F or higher for safety.
At this point, there are a couple things you can do:
You could serve it up just as it is, and make your gravy separately.
You can return it to the oven, uncovered, and turn up the heat to 400F. Let it bake at 400 for about 15 minutes to brown the veggies a bit. Remove it from the oven, carefully move the chicken to a separate dish or serving platter, and pour your gravy over the veggies and stir. Serve chicken with soaked veggie-fruit Harvest mix on top or on the side.
However, I think the best way to do it is this:
1. Whisk all the gravy ingredients together in an unheated pot.
2. Carefully, with help from additional hands if necessary, tip the baking dish over the whisked uncooked gravy, without dumping the fruit and chicken. If you get a few jumpers, fish them out and toss back into the baking dish. The amount of liquid will vary, so whisk the drippings, and add 1 cup of additional liquid (broth, milk, water). Turn the burner to med-high and start stirring the gravy. (By the way, the best whisk EVER is this one).
3. At this point, remove the fruit-veggie-harvest mix and put it in a separate bowl or serving dish. Turn the oven up to 400, or broil, let it warm up, and then return the chicken to the oven for 5-15 minutes to brown and crisp up the skin. I don't recommend broil...it burnt mine a bit because I was thinking about gravy, not my chicken which was burning in the oven. Remove your chicken when nicely browned and crispy.
4. When the garbanzo flour has boiled and thickened, check for liquidity. If it's too thick, add liquid 1/4 at a time. If it's too runny, let it boil a bit more. If it's REALLY runny, then grab your sherry and a cup or bowl. Use about a table spoon of sherry, and an additional tablespoon Garbanzo Flour and make a paste. Whisk a bit of your runny gravy into the paste, then pour/scoop the mixture back into the rest of the gravy. Stir and allow to boil and thicken. Remember to check for salt when you add more flour. Just give it a final taste, then pour your gravy over the harvest veggie mix and stir.
5. Eat up.
Remember: You can always make just the harvest veggie fruit mix -- either because you're vegetarian, or because you're busy! You can serve it separately with rotisserie chicken, or with chicken breasts. Whatever is easier.
If you're gonna make this for a whole turkey, you'll need to do a bit of math. Example: For a 12lb bird, you'll want to triple the recipe.