Chinese-American Thanksgiving Turkey


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The beauty of Thanksgiving is that it about bringing families together and if your family is of Chinese descent, this is a fantastic way to bring a little bit of history and culture to the table.

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Serving Size / Yield

12 servings


  • Stuffing:
  • 3 C. sweet rice (also known as glutinous)
  • 1 C. dried black mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce, divided
  • 4 Tbs. rice wine (or dry sherry), divided
  • 2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 1/2 C. finely chopped green onions
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped ginger root
  • Chopped turkey giblets, heart and gizzard only
  • 1 lb. Chinese pork sausage, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. fresh or canned water chestnuts, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • Turkey:
  • 12-14 lb. turkey
  • 2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 3 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground pepper
  • Sauce:
  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

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Stuffing: Put rice in large bowl, cover with cold water and soak overnight. Drain thoroughly. Soak mushrooms in warm water 20 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid. Remove and discard stems. Coarsely chop caps. Combine ground pork with 1 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. rice wine, sesame oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Set aside 20 minutes.

Heat wok or large skillet over high heat until hot. Swirl in peanut oil. When it is very hot and smoking slightly, add green onions and ginger and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add pork mixture and turkey giblets and stir-fry 3 minutes, breaking up pork. Add mushrooms, Chinese sausage, rice and water chestnuts and continue to stir-fry until thoroughly mixed, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, remaining 2 Tbs. soy sauce and remaining 3 Tbs. rice wine and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool thoroughly.

Turkey: Carefully separate skin of turkey breast from meat with hands. Rub skin with sesame oil. Mix salt and pepper and rub evenly over turkey. Set aside. (This may be done a day ahead. Cover turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Insert thin layer of stuffing between turkey breast and skin. Loosely fill turkey cavity with stuffing and close with skewer. Spoon any remaining stuffing into baking dish and steam 40 minutes before serving.

Place turkey on deep heat-proof platter on rack in large roasting pan or turkey roaster. Add enough hot water to pan or roaster to come to 1 1/2 inches beneath rack. Cover pan tightly with lid or foil. Bring water to simmer, reduce heat to low and gently steam until an instant-read thermometer reads 150 degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, approximately 2-2 1/2 hours. Replenish steaming water as needed.

Remove turkey from platter, reserving any juices that may have collected. Discard steaming water. Place steamed turkey on rack in roasting pan and roast at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Increase temperature to 450 degrees and roast until turkey is golden brown and your instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, about 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and let rest 20 minutes before carving. Serve carved turkey and stuffing with sauce.

Sauce: While turkey is roasting, combine chicken stock and reserved turkey juices in saucepan. Bring mixture to boil and reduce by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: Chinese pork sausages look and feel like pepperoni, but they're much sweeter. You may substitute chorizo, salami or diced ham for the pork sausage.

Yield: 12 servings

From: "Easy Family Recipes From a Chinese-American Childhood" by Ken Hom

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