Most cooks have their favorite, method for cooking Thanksgiving turkey to perfection. Popular turkey recipes include: traditional turkey roast, pre-brined or deep fried turkey, and Cajun style turkey.
If youre confused or overwhelmed, don”t panic! Sticking to the traditional methods of either quick or slow roasting will ensure a lovely Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffed with Oysters
For one 12 lb. turkey (weight after trussing)
Oyster Stuffing (Based on Oyster Stuffing Recipe, Bonny Wolf, NPR)
- 10 cups bread cubes
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1 pint raw oysters (or chopped scallops if preferred)
- Heat the butter in large skillet. Add onions and celery. Cook for about five minutes or until tender. Remove pan from heat and add spices.
- Stir in bread cubes and drained oysters. Use liquid from the oysters to moisten the mixture, if required.
- Stuff the turkey neck immediately before roasting. Alternatively, bake the oyster stuffing separately in a well-buttered baking dish at 175?C (350?F) for about 30 minutes.
To roast the turkey:
- Remove neck, giblets and liver. Reserve these for making stock. Rinse the turkey and pat dry.
- Press the stuffing into the neck cavity. Secure skin with wooden cocktail sticks.
- Weigh the turkey including stuffing to calculate cooking time. Allow 20 minutes per pound, plus 20 minutes standing time after cooking.
- Coat the turkey with butter or oil. Place strips of bacon across the breast and thighs to prevent the meat from drying out. Season lightly with salt and black pepper (no additional salt required if cooking brined turkey) and a sprinkling of freeze-dried mixed herbs. Place the turkey on a rack in a deep roasting pan. Cover loosely with a foil tent.
- Roast the turkey in a preheated oven at 375?F (190?C), basting frequently to retain moisture. Alternatively, roast the turkey at 425?F (220?C) for thirty minutes, then reduce to 325?F (160?C) for the remaining cooking time. Remove foil, 30 to 40 minutes before cooking is complete to allow the breast to crisp to a golden brown.
- Test to see if the turkey is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the thigh with a fine skewer. The juices will run clear when the turkey is cooked.
- Remove from pan and place on a warm carving plate. Cover loosely with foil and leave to stand for about 20 minutes.
Turkey Cooking Tips
Here are some other helpful cooking tips:
- For extra flavor and succulence, choose a top- grade, preferably free-range, turkey.
- To keep the turkey moist during cooking, stuff the neck and place some fresh sage, parsley, lemon zest, whole-peeled onion and one or two peeled fresh garlic cloves in the body cavity.
- Always leave the turkey to rest before carving, this allows the meat to re-absorb its juices and makes carving easier.
Brined Turkey Recipe
The key to serving up a Thanksgiving turkey dinner that is tender, juicy and flavorsome is to soak the bird in a brine solution before cooking.
- 2? gallons cold water
- 2 cups sea salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 whole head of garlic, peeled
- 1 small bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 small bunch of sage
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 5 crushed allspice berries (optional)
- 4 crushed juniper berries (optional)
To prepare the brine: Pour the water into a large stockpot or other container large enough to hold the bird. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the cold water and then add the remaining ingredients. Place the uncooked turkey in the container (innards removed), making sure that the bird is completely covered by the brine. Leave in a cool place for 24 hours.
Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe Ideas
Cold, cooked turkey lends itself to so many different recipes: curries, pasta bakes, rich white wine and cream-based casseroles, soups, salads, pizzas or even Greek spiced turkey and yogurt dips with pita bread.
Top Tip for Turkey Leftovers
Trawl your cookbooks for recipes that use cooked chicken and substitute the equivalent quantity of cooked turkey.
Leftovers: Turkey Pancake Florentine
(adapted from Chicken Pancakes Florentine, Mary Berrys Complete Cookbook)
Ingredients, Serves 4:
Base of Dish:
- 1 lb spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 oz butter
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- 8 home-made or ready-made pancakes or crpes
- 4 oz Gruyre cheese, grated
- 2 oz butter
- 12 oz mushrooms, quartered
- 1? oz plain flour
- ? pint turkey stock
- 12 oz cooked turkey, bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- Salt, black pepper
- Make the filling by melting the butter in a heavy-based pan. Add mushrooms. Cook for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Add turkey, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Rinse the spinach and place the moist spinach leaves, with no added water, in a separate saucepan. Cook for two minutes or until tender; drain well, squeezing to extract any excess liquid.
- Stir in 1 oz. of butter and nutmeg into the wilted spinach. Spoon the mixture into a shallow, ovenproof dish.
- Divide the turkey and mushroom filling between the pancakes. Place rolled pancakes in a single layer on top of the spinach.
- Sprinkle with cheese, then bake in a preheated oven at 375?F (190?C) for about 25 minutes. Serve hot.