Roast Turkey (Creole-style)
Select a young turkey hen with smooth legs and one that is quite fat. Lay aside the giblets. Have ready several dozen large oysters in their juice. This should be strained through cheesecloth and the oysters picked over to see that they do not have any shell clinging to them.
Chop very fine three small onions or two large ones, and to this add just a touch of garlic — “a mere breath,” as the Creole would say. Too much onion or garlic will spoil the dressing, while just enough adds a delicious flavor in which neither of these ingredients is distinguishable.
Fill a soup plate with chopped pecan nuts, to which English walnuts or hickory nuts may be added, but do not put in any other kind.
Place a deep pot with a rounding bottom that has no edges into which things may stick upon the fire, and drop into it a large lump of lard. When that is very hot, drop into it the onions and chopped giblets and let them turn a light brown color, then drop in a heaping soup plateful of finely crumbed stale bread with no crusts in it — soaked but not very wet with oyster juice.
Let all brown together. The mass will become a clear light brown if stirred, but the least inattention will cause a bit to burn and spoil the flavor of the whole.
When this is brown, pour in the oyster juice slowly, but do not add more than the bread will absorb; stir for a few minutes and then pour in the nuts and oysters and stir all till the mass is thick and heavy. This will only take a few minutes, as the hot lard does its work quickly. The nuts should not be thrown in until just before the stuffing is ready to pour out of the pot upon a dish. The oysters and nuts are not intended to cook, merely to mingle with the stuffing long enough for their flavor to permeate everything.
In the dish, add a little chopped parsley, a tiny bit of thyme and a taste of bay leaf if you have it. Salt and pepper are added to the stuffing when it is in the pot, and to the outside of the turkey when it is greased and set in the oven.
When the stuffing has cooled, fill the turkey is full as you can. It Is not considered artistic to make dressing as soft as that in this recipe, since most cooks sacrifice the flavor of both dressing and fowl to their desire to nave the turkey with a stiff shirt front. The dressing, when put into the turkey, is of a fair consistency, but after the turkey has been sewed up, basted awhile in the oven and browned, the nuts begin to melt to great extent and the dressing soaks into the turkey and the flavor of the fowl into the dressing until oysters, nuts and turkey combine to produce the most delicious morsel one ever tasted.
Recipe by Mrs A West, 131 Wool Street, San Francisco, California