Thanksgiving Recipe: ‘Iraqi Style’ Turkey and Stuffing

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Tired of the same old Thanksgiving stuffing recipe? Here’s one from Nawal Nasrallah, author of Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine. Last year on Good Food, Nawal detailed the history of the date.

This dish for stuffed roast turkey is actually a traditional recipe that Iraqi Christians typically enjoy on Christmas. The recipe works for both turkey and chicken. She says that some cooks take the extra step and carefully stuff the aromatic mixture underneath the entire turkey skin as well. “This stuffing technique is quite steeped in tradition,” she explains. “I was able to trace it back to a medieval Baghdadi recipe. After the feathers were removed and before opening up the bird, it was blown hard through the neck to separate the skin. Nowadays it is done as follows: Hold the bird with one hand and with the fingers of the other, starting with the neck part, separate skin from flesh, going down slowly all the way to the thighs, taking care not to pierce the skin with your nails. This will create a pocket to hold the stuffing.”

Nasrallah concludes, “It is really worth the extra effort.”  You can see how beautifully crisped the skin is in the picture above.