21 November 2012

The Annual Turkey Recipe

By Frank Turk

Just a picture from the Internet
I think it is a self-imposed tradition that I provide this recipe for you too late to actually use it, so with that in mind, here' the recipe we use at my house to cook a full-bird Turkey.  For those who are opposed to Turkey, it also works great on Chicken.  It makes utterly-lousy Pizza.

You do not have to be "truly reformed" to use this recipe. You just have to like Turkey and stuffing.

Roasting a turkey isn't as hard as it sounds. Here's a basic recipe to get you started. In this case, the turkey is stuffed. DO NOT stuff the turkey and put it in the fridge overnight: that's bacteriologically a bad idea, and we want you all to enjoy Thanksgiving on the sofa, not on a hospital gurney.


12- to 14-lb. turkey, thawed if purchased frozen
1 bag, your favorite "Italian" croutons
2-4 bouillon cubes
2-3 stalks, celery, chopper or cubed
1 cup carrots, chopped
½ cup onions, finely chopped
1 tsp, dried parsley
1 cup, cashews
Pepper and Garlic Salt

  1. Preheat your oven to 325. Remove the cooking racks, then place one rack into oven at the lowest position.
  2. Unwrap your THAWED Turkey in a clean sink, and remove the giblets – that bag of stuff that you never thought you would use for anything because it looks gross. It's not gross. You may have to unhook the metal clip which holds the legs together in order to get all the giblets out; you may have to run some warm water into the bird to get the giblets out. Don't be afraid.
  3. Start a medium-sized pot of water boiling – not more than 3 cups. Put your packet of giblets in the water (sans wrapping paper), along with your bouillon cubes and the carrots, celery and parlsey. 2 cubes will make a somewhat-mild flavored stuffing; 6 will make a very salty and spicy stuffing. You know what you like best, so add the cubes to the low end of your tolerance for spicy. For your reference, I usually use 4 cubes. Boil this mix for about 30 minutes – long enough to cook the giblets thoroughly.
  4. While the soup (yes: you very smart readers knew that we were making soup, didn't you?) is cooking, wash the Turkey thoroughly, inside and out. I wouldn't use soap as you might miss a spot in the rinse and ruin your hours of hard work here, but washing the bird is an important health safety tip. If we were deep frying the bird (that's the Christmas recipe), washing is pretty much unimportant because if some germ can survive the deep fryer, it will kill you before you eat any of the dinner. Anyway, clean the bird thoroughly and put it in a large roasting pan. For this recipe, the deeper the roasting pan, the better. I suggest a large disposable roasting pan from WAL*MART even though it might possibly ring up at the wrong price.

    If you get bored waiting for the soup to finish up, this would be a good time to rub salt and pepper into the skin of your bird. Visually, salt and pepper the skin so that it looks like very light TV static. Do the top (the breast side) and the bottom (where the shoulders are); do not worry if you put less on the breast side. Because of the way this bird is going to cook, pay special attention to salting and peppering the wings and drumsticks.
  5. You now have a clean, prepped bird and a very delicious-smelling pot of soup. You have to make stuffing now. Remove the soup from the heat and remove the giblets. If you are a complete carnivore (like me), take the fully-cooked giblets to your food chopper and chop them up and put them back into the soup (you can't chop up the neck, but if you have 20 minutes, de-bone the neck and put your neck meat into the soup).

    Those of you grossed out by chopping up the giblets can throw them away. The rest of us will weep for you.

    Now empty the bag of croutons into the soup. If you used about 2 cups of water, you will get a somewhat-damp bread-and-soup mixture; if you used about 3 cups of water, you will get a very wet bread-and-soup mixture. I like the latter better, but some people like their stuffing more dry than others. The extraordinary secret here is that a soupier stuffing makes for a more-moist bird in the final product. After the soup and the bread are well- mixed, add the cashews and mix again.
  6. When you have this mixing complete, use a tablespoon and start loading the stuffing into the bird. Pack the stuffing down into the bird to get the cavity of the body completely full of stuffing. Don't leave any air pockets. Once the Turkey is completely stuffed, position it in the roasting tray breast-side down (I learned that from watching Emeril) in the center of the pan, and load the pan with the rest of your stuffing mix.
  7. Cover the Turkey, and place it inside your oven. After 2 hours in the heat, remove the cover and roast for another hour. In this final hour, the skin of the exposed parts should turn golden brown. At the end of the third hour, test the bird with a meat thermometer; the center temperature should be 175-180 degrees F. It will be the most unbelievable bird you every ate.


Johnny Dialectic said...

You do not have to be "truly reformed" to use this recipe

A good thing, because I enjoy cooking the turkey upside down. The theological and culinary point is, of course: You have a choice!

Likewise when it comes to the all important carving. It's crucial to let the bird sit for fifteen to twenty minutes, with minimal picking by you (which is like preaching a sermon unprepared). There are two methods for carving the bird. I prefer the one that removes the entire breast as one big piece, then gets sliced. The skin stays on for the presentation that way.

And homemade cranberry sauce is one proof of 1 Tim. 6:17.

Enjoy your day with family, sir.

DJP said...

LOL. So now we know that one-star hater is a Roman Catholic, Gospel-hating racist vegetarian!

Andrew Lindsey said...

re: "It makes utterly-lousy Pizza."

Mike Meadors said...

I thought you were totally going to do the bacon-wrapped recipe this year.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Happy Franksgiving!

Have a Turk-ducken on me!

Kerry James Allen said...

Vegetarian: Indian word for poor hunter!

Marla said...

I had been thinking about giving this a try this year, so thanks for the re-print. One question - do I have to roast the turkey upside down? Will it work just as well, right-side up? I have a 27 lb bird,and I don't think it will fit upside down.

Jason Dollar said...

Lovely recipe, Frank. Poor bird.

GrammaMack said...

"washing the bird is an important health safety tip." Frank, this is no longer recommended due to the possibility of cross-contamination. If you google it, you'll find numerous sites saying NOT to do it.

For example:

"There's no need to do that. It's a holdover from long ago when poultry routinely arrived with bits of blood and pinfeathers still attached. Cooks were instructed to wash the carcass well and use tweezers to remove any feathers that didn't get plucked. With today's modern processing, none of that is necessary. You just want to get the turkey into its pan and into the oven with as little dripping and splashing as possible.

"The heat will take care of whatever might be on the surface of the turkey," says Howard Seltzer, national education adviser for the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Frank Turk said...

Upside down is necessary. You get dry white meat otherwise.

If your don't wash the bird, suit yourself.

Linda said...

Sounds like a yummy recipe Frank. Thanks for sharing

My mother passed down to me to cook the Turkey on low heat-250 degrees all nite long. When you wake up in the morning it will be juicy and very tender... Probably a good 10 to 12 hours~

Muahahaha-"You do not have to be "truly reformed" to use this recipe"

trogdor said...

My wife is pretty sure this is the first Pyro post she's ever put on Pinterest.

Susan said...

I was in a huge rush last year trying to figure out how to roast a whole bird (we usually cut up the gobbler, cook only certain pieces for Thanksgiving, and freeze the other pieces). It was then that I saw Frank's recipe and thought I'd give it a try. It was great! The bird was cooked all the way through (ovens do vary), and the skin came out nice and brown. Had I the time, though, I would have marinated it because all turkeys have this certain gamey-ness that I don't particular enjoy. But if you don't care for marinading or brining, this recipe will do. I made turkey pot pies out of the leftovers, and it was even better the second day. Thanks again, Frank!

(And yes, I did make sure I cook the bird upside down! Do use a rack if you don't want soggy skin on the breast side.)

Mike Westfall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Westfall said...

The whole bird is only 12 to 14 pounds?

Sheesh! Don't you enjoy turkey sandwiches?

In our house we roast only half a bird at a time, but that half is in the 20 - 25 pound range.

David said...

I'm confused... You call for onions but I cant see where they are mentioned in the recipe ...

Marla said...

Used this -- worked out great. Total yumminess, everyone loved it. The stuffing was the best part, and the bird was very tender(I've never had one where the meat falls off the legs.) Thanks again Frank!

Frank Turk said...

David: the onions go in the soupy mix that turns into stuffing. Somehow that got omitted; I will rectify it next year.