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EDWARD LEVESQUE’S KITCHEN 1290 Queen East, at Hastings, 416-465-3600, edwardlevesque.ca
Edward Levesque loves to talk turkey about turkey.
"I get my naturally raised birds from the farm next to mine out in Canfield," says the owner of the Leslieville eatery that bears his name. "If you start with a good thing, you end up with a good thing."
He's also very particular about how he cooks them. Not only does he forgo the usual bread stuffing, but Levesque doesn't believe in brining either.
"There's no point unless you're going to smoke them," explains the notoriously cantankerous cook. "And it adds all that extra salt. If you leave the turkey alone, it'll taste great. Simple is best."
Levesque's annual Thanksgiving spread is always a sellout, but he won't be offering it over the upcoming holiday season. Why not?
"Everyone wants that turkey coma, but I never cook it at Christmas," explains the contrary Levesque. "I'd rather have a bowl of spaghetti."
For the turkey:
1 fresh 15-pound turkey at room temperature
4 tbsp soft salted butter
½ tsp grey salt
For the stuffing:
2 medium cooking onions, peeled and quartered
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
For the mirepoix:
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 medium cooking onions, peeled and quartered
4 large leeks, cut into 4-inch lengths, peeled and rinsed
½ stalk celery, roughly chopped
gizzards from the turkey
2 tbsp soft salted butter
½ tsp grey salt
½ tsp freshly ground peppercorns
Remove the gizzards and thoroughly rinse the turkey under cold water inside and out. Pat dry. Rub inside and out with butter and salt. Loosely stuff with onions and sage leaves. Truss the legs and wings with string.
Toss the chopped veggies and gizzards with butter, salt and pepper in a large roasting pan and place trussed turkey on top of mirepoix. Roast the turkey on the bottom rack of a preheated 450°F oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and cook for another hour and 45 minutes, until golden brown and the juices run clear when you insert a knife in the leg joint.
Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and add 2 cups of hot water to the mirepoix. Scrape the pan and strain, reserving the liquid to make gravy.
Serves four, with leftovers.