Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get your turkey on

I've shared this before, but I thought it might be a good time to repeat myself. :)

The Holiday Season is once again upon us and the most common dread for cooks is cooking the turkey. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, the very word “turkey” can strike fear into the heart of an unseasoned cook. (Get it? HAHAHA)

So, with this in mind, I thought I’d share a great Thanksgiving (or any other time) Turkey recipe. 

A few notes first - The recipe I’m going to share for gravy includes using the liver. Personally, I don’t use the liver because it grosses me out. But, I know lots of people do, so I've left that part in. Be assured that I use this recipe without the liver all the time and it’s great.

Also, this is for after the turkey has been thawed. Please follow the guidelines (that should be on the turkey) for thawing it properly. And don’t forget to relax, cooking the turkey is no big deal.


Honey-Basted Roast Turkey Recipe

1 small turkey, 10 to 12 pounds

2 T. peanut oil

1/2 t. ground sage

1/2 t. ground allspice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small bunch green onions

3 to 4 T. honey

Garnish: Decorative string of cranberries and bay leaves or sage leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Remove giblets from turkey (reserve for gravy, recipe follows). Rinse turkey and pat dry. Rub inside and out with oil. Season with sage, allspice, salt and pepper. Stuff neck and body cavities with onions and truss, if desired. Place turkey in roasting pan. Roast, allowing 18 to 20 minutes per pound, until juices run clear with no hint of pink when thigh is pierced.

During the last hour of cooking, baste turkey 2 to 3 times with honey.

Serve with pan gravy and garnish with decorative string of cranberries and bay leaves or sage leaves, if desired.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Giblet Pan Gravy


(You can also use a few bits of meat from underneath the bird where no one is likely to notice you removed them. That is if the whole idea of giblets wigs you out. Remember the gravy should be done after the turkey. Also, you don’t have to cook it for 40 minutes if you use the already cooked pieces of turkey like I suggest here. Only cook until it bubbles. The best place to remove a small bit of meat is just underneath the rear. Use a long utensil of some sort (placed in the opening) to lift the bird from the back and tip it upward. Slice off a small piece and chop it up to look like giblets. I also recommend not doing this in front of anyone or thinking about it for too long as it can cause ridiculous amounts of laughter when you put a spatula or grilling fork up a turkey’s butt.)

3 C. water

2 celery tops

2 green onions (I also use caramelized white onions as the flavor of green is too strong for me.)

Pan juices from roasted turkey

4 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place giblets, except the liver, in a saucepan with water, celery tops and green onions.

Chop liver and reserve. (Remember you don’t have to use it.) Bring water to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat for about 40 minutes or until giblets are tender. (Or just until it boils if you used the chopped turkey meat.) Strain broth and reserve.

Chop cooked giblets and combine with chopped liver. (Skip this part if you used the chopped turkey meat.)

In the same saucepan, bring 2 cups combined pan juices and giblet broth to a boil.

Stir in chopped giblets and cornstarch-water mixture. Cook gravy over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Now, it wasn't that bad, was it?

If you're holiday season is particularly stressful, I've got another suggestion/recipe. Sparkling cranberry juice with a splash of spiced rum. But don't have too much or you might decide everyone needs to watch while you put a spatula up the turkey's butt. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Also, if you really want a good laugh, you can truss your bird up to look like you used a Japanese bondage technique. Be sure the people you are cooking for have a sense of humor first. 

Happy Holidays!

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