Monday, November 19, 2007

Time to get the turkey

Today is the day. I must go get my turkey. The good news is, turkey is 48 cents a pound. The Thanksgiving meal is my favorite meal to prepare EVER, it is also my favorite meal to eat. Plus it is an easy meal.

Our menu is easy once again. The only time consuming part of the meal is the cranberry salad, which is ground whole oranges, walnuts, celery, and apples.

I am always amazed that people get confused about cooking a whole turkey. So I will give tips to make it fool proof.

Hint (figure 2 pounds a person at least)

First off, most of us cannot afford a "fresh turkey". I wish we all could, but unless you know someone that has a turkey "farm", or have $60 plus dollars to spend on a turkey...well frozen seems to be the way.

I also swear by cooking turkey in those reynolds cooking bags. No basting, and does not dry out.

If you have a good roaster, good for you. I do not. So I end up buying those disposable aluminum roasting dishes. (hint BUY 2, and use both) Also use a cookie sheet underneath, or you will have a mess.

After the turkey is thawed, clean turkey well, remove any stray pin feathers, wash with baking soda and water, inside and out. (remove giblets and neck from carcass, slow cook these with celery tops, onion, butter, mushrooms and chicken broth and use for your dressing) Then use olive oil mixed with butter and slather the entire turkey. Insert some celery, a stick of butter, an onion, and carrot in the cavity. Salt and pepper the inside and the outside.

Follow the directions on the cooking bag, and toss the turkey in the bag. Easy, done.

When you place the turkey (that is in the bag) into the roaster place it breast side down. This is a fool proof way to keep the breast meat moist.

For turkeys up to 20 pounds, roast for 15 minutes a pound -- an 18-pound bird should roast for about 4 1/2 hours. Roast larger birds for 12 minutes a pound. A stuffed turkey may require an extra buffer of 30 minutes. Take the temperature of the bird as well as the stuffing. Oven temperatures vary, as do farm fresh turkeys, so begin checking for doneness about 30 minutes before the turkey is expected to be done.

I know some people swear by basting etc. Frankly I do not, I do not want to babysit a darn turkey all day. The method of cooking it in a bag will free you up to do other things.

Most frozen turkeys have that little red "turkey is done button". Otherwise, use your meat thermometer.

Turkey is not difficult to fix, it takes less time than frying a chicken. Do not be intimidated.

Oh and do not throw any juices, or drippings away, this makes delicious gravy. If you need an easy way to make gravy, well I will tell you about that tomorrow.

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