17 November 2010

Holiday Recipe - Blogging made easy!

by Frank Turk

One of the fabulous moments of my vacation two weeks ago was the sacramental fellowship we had at the Johnson household around Phil's gourmet Pizza. It's a thanksgiving tradition at their house, but we got there early and it was splendid.

So in honor of our feast, I'm publishing the Turk family Turkey recipe here. And this year I'm getting it out there so that you can actually buy the stuff you need because you were planning ahead.

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 (Mrs. Cent prefers walnuts; use the nut you enjoy most)
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 onions, carrots, celery and parlsey. (FWIW, the leafy parts of the celery are great for this recipe, so don;t get squeemish) 2 boullion 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.

    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 ever ate.


CGrim said...

Yes, always use the leafy parts of the celery, people!

That looks like a very tasty stuffing recipe, I may have to try it out.

Last year, I had great success with Alton Brown's turkey recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html It involves soaking in brine for several days ahead of time.

JackW said...

Well, this is a surprise. I would have thought that blackened turkey would be more in vogue with the Pyromaniacs.

David Rudd said...

thanks, Frank. i usually use my mother-in-law's recipe for the stuffing as it creates a fantastic product, but i may try your stuffing this year just for something different. it does sound good.

Stefan Ewing said...


Yeah, Cajun style!

J♥Yce Burrows said...

So dear of you to yummmmmmmy share ~ thanks! :-)

David Kyle said...

Would you recommend a calvinist or an arminian turkey?

CGrim said...

"Would you recommend a calvinist or an arminian turkey?"

Depends - do you choose the turkey, or does the turkey choose you?

J♥Yce Burrows said...

Depends - do you choose the turkey, or does the turkey choose you?

turkey is certified dead. the letter killed it. dead turkeys don't choose.

Who woulda thought there would evolve a doctrines of grace lesson in Frank's holiday recipe. :-)

J♥Yce Burrows said...

Thanks again, Frank ~ our turkey was fresh and neglected to the trash last year due to my dad's passing and your recipe is near how my mum used to make the holiday bird. Nice reminder and encouragement ~

Nash Equilibrium said...

Thanks for the recipe! I have never actually prepared a Thanskgiving turkey before, so this plain-talk recipe is helpful.

I was a bit shocked to learn that the Johnsons take communion using pizza, but maybe that is a west coast thing.

CGrim said...

dead turkeys don't choose.


Who woulda thought there would evolve a doctrines of grace lesson in Frank's holiday recipe.

True, although since these turkeys are chosen for the oven, I'm not sure how far to extend this metaphor. :)

GrammaMack said...

A safety note: most health agencies now recommend that you do NOT wash poultry before cooking it, due to the risk of cross-contamination. To quote, "Cooking kills the bacteria; washing raw chicken just spreads it around the kitchen."

Stefan Ewing said...

Is the turkey actually dead, or is it merely "pining for the fjords"? (Insert cheap shot at Arminians here.)

donsands said...

"...that bag of stuff that you never thought you would use for anything because it looks gross. It's not gross."

Yes it is.

I really enjoyed reading this. I shall pass it on to my wife, who is a superb cook. Thanks Cent.

If I were to try and cook a Turkey, it would turn out like this:


Rob said...

Sounds pretty good. But curious: how do you recommend covering the bird? Just with the pan cover, or with foil, or (I've seen Martha do this) a cheese-cloth soaked in the broth? I know there are different ways to do this, so curious what method you use.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I've heard of cooking a bird breast-side-down to get started, and then flipping it over so the skin browns nicely all over. (But of course it was a much smaller bird.) So do you cook it that way the whole time? Does it affect it's appearance in the pre-carving turkey photo shoot?

Sonja said...

Regarding step 2, sometimes the bag o'giblets is hidden under the neck skin flap. So for you rookies, if the bag isn't at one end of the turkey, check the other end. :)

Recipe sounds wonderful! Easy peasy too!

one busy mom said...

Sounds like a tasty stuffing recipe. I like the idea of adding cashews - maybe I'll sneak them in this year. Thanksgiving is such a tradition around here - that if I change one thing I risk wholesale revolt!

Rob, cover the bird w/ aluminum foil - buy the wide roll & make an "A" shaped "tent" over the bird. It will take 2 long strips of foil to make your tent, let it be loose over the bird - but crimp it to the roasting pan to keep it in place. FYI - for those of you new to turkey roasting: treat yourself to a real roasting pan, and large turkey lifters -not pricey & will make your experience much easier especially if you're dealing w/ a heavy bird! :-)

J♥Yce Burrows said...

CGrim ~ smiles

Herding Grasshoppers said...

I'm drooling. I like the breast-down method too.

One caveat... you must be cooking a small bird. Three hours?

Might want to allow another hour (or more) if you are feeding a bigger crowd. The internal temp will tell the tale.

(My MIL gave DH and sibs food poisoning at least once, maybe twice, at Thanksgiving from undercooked bird...)

Jacob said...

5 Stars because I got hungry just reading it.

Staci Eastin said...

One of my homeschool-mom blogger friends always says if you don't know what to blog about, post a recipe. :)

Gramma Mack already beat me to my next tip. "They" tell you not to wash the bird these days. But, I think poultry that hasn't been washed tastes too gamey. Just be very careful to clean out your sink afterwards.

Sounds like an excellent recipe, though.

Nash Equilibrium said...

After you have retrieved the bag of giblets, you'll be qualified to be a TSA agent at the airport.

Mike Westfall said...

The turkey is only 12-14 pounds?

So I can't use this recipe for the turkeys I've been raising, one of which I weighed at 62 Lbs the other day?

I could quarter it I guess, and make four separate meals of it...

royboy said...

You can make things somewhat easier, for stuffing removal, if you line the inside cavity with a piece of cheese cloth. Just get a large square and use your fist to push it into a bag shape in the cavity of the bird, then put the stuffing into it.
My wife has been doing this for years, makes the removal of the stuffing simple (just pull out the bag), and you don't have to worry about any small pieces of bone accidentally being included as you try to scoop after cooking.
Have a great thanksgiving south of the border.
Sorry if my pragmatism is showing
Thanks for a great site

Nick said...

Frank, I thought you were in Arkansas. In Arkansas we don't eat "stuffing", we eat corn bread dressing - and it hasn't been stuffed anywhere but in a Pyrex dish.

I'm head home to Arkansas for some this afternoon.