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Understanding How to Roast Turkey

Understanding Roasting
from Roasting: A Simple Art
(William Morrow, 1995)
This related to the recipe for Simple Roast Turkey

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Giblet, et al.
There are certain things to think of to ensure success before beginning roast a turkey: Remove the giblet bag from the interior of the bird. Remove the wing tips. Put everything except the livers into a pot and start Basic Fowl Giblet Gravy. (Be sure to remove the wing tips before adding the cooked gizzards, heart, and neck meat back into the sauce.) By the time the bird is roasted, the gravy will be done. Use the liver in the dressing/stuffing or store in the freezer, covered with milk. Make sure there is a pan big enough for the turkey without its touching the sides of the pan. Do not truss.

To stuff or not to stuff
Consider whether the bird should be stuffed or the stuffing served as a dressing baked separately. If stuffing, think in terms of twelve cups of stuffing for a fifteen-pound bird, which will allow the big cavity to be stuffed and some more stuffing to be crammed under the skin flap at the neck. I seldom stuff because there are real food safety questions about the bird and its stuffing sitting out at room temperature.

Oven care
The oven must be very clean before roasting, or cooking at this high temperature will cause unpleasant smoke. In any case, there will be some smoke, so turn on the fan or open a window. Don’t put the oven rack too high or the skin on the breast will overcook. For a twenty-pound turkey, the rack should be in the lowest position. Always put the turkey in legs first — dark meat takes longer to cook and the rear of the oven is the hottest area.

Turkey talk
If the top skin seems to be getting too dark, slip a doubled piece of aluminum foil on top of it. Don’t move the turkey. Use an oven mitt to protect hands and forearms. Remove the foil with the same oven mitt ten minutes before the turkey comes out.

Large turkeys are most easily removed from the pan by holding them with two pot holders, which will need to be washed. After the meal, get out a large stockpots to boll up the carcass and leftover bones for turkey soup and stock variations.

Recipe © 1995 Barbara Kafka. All rights reserved.