Originally published at Women Not Dabbling by emphelan
I realize this won’t make it into the blog until after Thanksgiving, but this will be the first Thanksgiving that I am officially in charge of cooking the turkey… and I have no idea how. I would love to hear favorite turkey recipes or any information about cooking one.
Well Maria, you’re in luck. I am running with your question before Thanksgiving. Now boys and girls, this is good for all of us. I am not choosing favorites here.
With all cooking you want to choose your main ingredient well. If you are in charge of picking out the turkey, a good rule of thumb is to purchase 1 pound of meat per person. However, if you want left overs, than go nuts! A frozen turkey will take 24 hours for every 6 pounds of bird to thaw. If you thaw at room temperature, it is 1 hour per pound. For those of you butchering your own turkey, you can read about my first experience at it, over on A Homesteading Neophyte: Butchering your own Turkey. A warning, it is graphic. And those of you that are hunting Wild Turkey, the bird, not the liqueur, Wild Turkey, is another article I have written.
Ok, now we are past the picking and choosing part of the program. Now comes what to do with that thing. There are many different ways to go with the flavoring. The above articles have a recipe or two. But my favorite way to deal with a turkey, is brining him in apple cider and ice for 24 hours , put him into the oven, breast down, at 4 am at 400F for 1 hour, then reduced the temp to 250F. After 4 hours I stuffed him with chopped apples, onions, celery, roasted pecans, celery, carrots, brown sugar and white wine, after flipping him breast side up. From there he slowly baked for 4 more hours before I returned the temp to 400F for the last hour. Ok so this recipe takes 10 hours, but my goodness is it well worth it. Also the turkey I am speaking of was 38 pounds. You can reduce the cooking time. For a turkey cooked straight through at 325F, here’s a chart;
8 to 12 pounds 2-3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3-3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours
You can also go the route of those turkey bags as well.
When it comes to flavoring your turkey, there really isn’t too much in variations that aren’t acceptable. Personally I choose to use fall ready fruits and veggies to flavor. The type of bread stuffing you choose can be a good clue to the way you should prepare the turkey. For your store bought turkey stuffing, a simple butter, salt, ground black pepper and sage will be the best way to go. All to taste of course. If you are making your own stuffing, look at your main fruits or veggies as well as the seasoning. Pears, apples, apricots, raisins, celery, leeks, cranberries, pumpkin, and winter squashes go best with any turkey. I would stay away from broccoli flavored turkey, anything from the cabbage family just doesn’t taste right with your bird.
Oh, and don’t forget to pull the giblets and neck out of the cavity. Some stores stuff there turkeys with other goodies as well. Make sure everything is removed, and wash the inside and outside of your bird before cooking, pat dry.
Howling Hill wishes for me to add;
Thanksgiving can be a trying time for vegetarians and for the family of vegetarians. No longer do I eliminate meat from my diet though I did for over a decade. It caused quite a bit of anxiety at Thanksgiving for me and the chef’s. Here’s my advice on how to keep everyone happy.
First, call your vegetarian(s) and ask them what for recipes or what foods they like about a month before Thanksgiving. This gives you and the vegetarian enough time to find recipes, ingredients, and the time to prepare the food. It also takes the anxiety away from the non-meat-eater because s/he knows there will be something for her/him to eat. Many times I ate before I left home because I knew there would be little to nothing for me to eat at dinner time. This made me sad that I had to pre-eat and certainly led to my weight gain.
Second, Don’t isolate your vegetarian by providing on one meal for them. That is, just because someone asked for a rice and bean meal doesn’t mean the rolls, vegetables, and stuffing aren’t desirable to the vegetarian. Anything with a meat ingredient can be made without meat and still be edible. For instance, stuffing made in a separate pan without turkey or turkey broth. Beans without pork fat, rolls without beef fat. If you make a few extra and put them aside for the vegetarian(s) nothing will make them feel more at home. For example before I went vegetarian I made a Thanksgiving dinner with my ex. It turned into the misfit Thanksgiving because many of our friends, both vegetarian and non, came over. One woman, Window, said to me at the end of the meal “that’s the first time I could eat everything on the table instead of just bread.” It really made me happy that I could feed her, something her mother couldn’t seem to manage.
Be careful with hidden meat ingredients. Many times chicken, beef, or turkey broth will be used in can goods even if they say “vegetarian.” Check labels. Also, vegetarians can be really sensitive to how their food is prepared. Putting vegetable kabobs on the grill isn’t a good idea because the veggies will be coated in meat.
It’s the same with pots and pans. If you use the same pots and pans to cook the vegetarian meal/components make sure you wash thoroughly. Also, have separate utensils to dish the food out. While I wasn’t as neurotic about this as my ex, his belief was if there was meat on the spoon it was “contaminated” and wouldn’t eat anything which had been touched with it after it touched meat. Thus, for the pork beans and the vegetarian beans, have separate spoons.
That’s about all I can think of. If you have any questions feel free to contact me!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
There are some tried and true recipes in an article called A Vegan Thanksgiving Guest. Shameless plug.