Monday, December 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey

When I was first married, my visiting teacher and I were discussing the upcoming holidays.  I mentioned to her that I had never cooked a turkey before.  At her next visit, she gave me an article from the local newspaper with instructions on cooking a turkey.  

I used it that year and it turned out so juicy and tender.  Since then it has been the only turkey recipe I've ever used.  

I've included the article word for word because it's such valuable information!  

*The only thing I do different is I buy frozen turkeys.  

Thanksgiving Turkey

Las Vegas Review Journal
A Caesars Palace chef shows the way to a juicy, roast Thanksgiving Turkey

Here are his tips for cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey

1.   Buy a fresh turkey instead of a frozen one.  To pick the right size, estimate two pounds of turkey per person.  This will allow for shrinkage and the weight of the bone, and still have leftovers.

2.    Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Put the stuffed turkey in an uncovered roasting pan on a base of vegetables--a raw, halved or quartered white onion; a washed, scrubbed carrot (whole or peeled); washed celery stakes with no leaves; ½ clove of garlic; three sprigs of fresh thyme and one bay leave.  If you don’t’ use a base of vegetables use a rack to lift the turkey off the bottom of the pan.

3.    Before roasting, brush the turkey skin with one stick of melted butter mixed with three tablespoons olive oil one table spoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.  Tie the turkey legs together with chives or string. 

4.    Place the turkey in the oven, uncovered for ½ hour, or until it has nicely browned.  Then, reduce the temperature to 275 degrees and finish roasting the turkey.  Baste the turkey one every ½ hour with pan juices.  Reducing the temperature to 275 is important.  Boyce says most people cook their turkey too quickly in an oven that’s too hot.

5.    To tell when it’s done, estimate 20 minutes per pound, or use a meat thermometer.  The turkey is done when it reaches 160 degrees internal temperature.


It’s best to stuff the turkey, even if you don’t eat the stuffing, because it keeps the turkey most.  Be sure the stuffing itself is moist or it will act like a sponge and a dry turkey will result.  You should be able to push the raw stuffing down with a fork and still see the impression of the fork.

Never use caned gravy. Packaged mixes are better than canned, but the best gravy comes from your own stock make a day ahead of time.  Buy chicken bones or turkey bones from the butcher.  Brown the bones in the oven.  Boil the browned bone in water and reduce to make stock.  Cool it to room temperature, remove the bones, strain and chill in the refrigerator.  If it doesn’t thicken somewhat like gelatin, it needs to be boiled longer. Skim off any extra fat that may have formed on the top of the chilled stock.  When the turkey comes out of the oven, remove the turkey and vegetables from the pan, skim off excess fat form the juices in the pan and make gravy adding the stock.  Thicken with a little flour.

To serve a beautiful turkey add, garnishes of different colored kale and radicchio leaves.  Or buy oak or maple leaves from a florist.  Wash them and put them on the tray around the turkey.  

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