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How to Carve Your Thanksgiving Turkey – Photo Guide

In charge of carving the bird this Thanksgiving?

Most of us carve a turkey once a year, if that, which means that just about all of us could use a little refresher on how to tackle that big golden bird.

With that in mind, here’s a little photo guide to help you get the job done.

1. Allow your guests to see that gloriously golden, fragrant, tender roasted turkey. Then, bring it back into the kitchen to carve. It’s a hands-on and somewhat messy job. There’s no need to be dealing with it at the carefully set Thanksgiving table.

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2. Start by removing the legs. To do this, use a sharp carving knife to cut the skin connecting the leg to the body. Use your hands to pull the leg away from the body until you hear the joint pop.

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Then wiggle the knife through the joint and pull the leg off of the turkey carcass.

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3. Repeat on the other side. Then, separate the thighs from the drumsticks by inserting a knife between the joint. If desired, slice the meat from the thigh and drumsticks.

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4. Remove the wings in a similar manner, by gently pulling the wing from the body, then using a knife to cut through the skin and joint.

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5. Finally, remove the turkey breasts from the carcass. To do this, make a long, deep cut into the center of the turkey on one side of the breast bone. Carefully glide your knife down along the breast bone to remove the entire breast from one side of the turkey.

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6. Repeat on the other side, then lay the breasts skin side up on your carving board and cut across the breast into slices.

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Save the carcass from turkey soup!!

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Thanksgiving Takes Two, Three, and Four

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

I’ve got a bird to throw in the oven and a parade to watch. Just wanted to pop in to share these previously posted ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers.

I’ll be starting my holiday cookie baking soon with a few new recipes to share (including a chewy chocolate orange cookie, laced with grand marnier and bits of candied orange peel), but I’ll also be posting a few of my old favorite cookie recipes over on The Gourmand Mom facebook page during the next few weeks. If you don’t already follow The Gourmand Mom on facebook, click on over using the link on the right side of the page. See you there!

Bursting with thankfulness,

~Amy

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #1 – Turkey Soup

Don’t let that turkey carcass go to waste! There’s so much flavor waiting to be extracted from those bones. Get the broth started right after dinner. Simply throw the whole turkey carcass into a large pot, cover with water, and simmer (partly covered) for 3-4 hours. Don’t worry if there’s still some meat or turkey skin hanging on the turkey! Just throw the whole thing in the pot and let it start working while you sit down to enjoy some pumpkin pie. Once it’s simmered, strain the broth and refrigerate overnight. The next day, you can finish making the soup. Click here for my step-by-step guide to making a basic chicken soup. You can follow the same process for turkey soup.

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #2 – Open-faced Thanksgiving Sandwich

In my opinion, this is the best way to use leftovers on the day after Thanksgiving, when you’ve still got a bit of everything in the fridge. Simply reheat some leftover turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Spread some cranberry sauce on a lightly toasted slice of thick, doughy bread. Then, top the cranberry sauce with the hot turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Drizzle hot gravy over the entire thing and enjoy. This is a knife and fork kind of sandwich; simple, hearty, and satisfying.

Click here for more details on making an open-faced turkey sandwich any time of year.

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #3 – Roast Turkey, Brie, and Homemade Apple Butter Melts

This is my new personal favorite. Such a perfect combination of flavors. I happen to love apple butter; always have and probably always will. You can find it in most grocery stores, usually near the  jams and jellies. Look for one which doesn’t contain a lot of unnecessary added sugar or corn syrup. Apple butter really doesn’t need anything other than apples and a bit of apple cider or apple juice. Apple butter is a cinch to make at home. So, if you can’t find any at your store, follow my simple recipe to make your own. And, if apple butter just isn’t your thing, substitute some leftover cranberry sauce on these sandwiches. It will pair beautifully with the brie.

For the sandwiches, thinly slice brie and spread it onto a sturdy piece of bread. I prefer to use ciabatta or pain de campagne, but any doughy, crusty bread should work. Spread apple butter (or cranberry sauce) onto another piece of bread. Place a few slices of roasted turkey breast between the bread slices. Loosely wrap the sandwich in foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes in a 350 degrees oven, until the cheese has melted, the bread feels slightly toasted, and the turkey is warm.

Homemade Apple Butter

Ingredients

  • 5-6 apples, peeled, cores removed, and coarse chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Simmer the apple pieces in the apple cider for about 20 minutes. If desired, add a cinnamon stick to simmer with the mixture. Then, puree the apples until smooth. Pour the puree into an oven-safe covered pan and place in the oven for about 5 hours. The apple butter will darken to a rich brown as it cooks.

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #4 – Turkey Salad Sandwiches

Turkey salad is a simple and delicious way to breathe new life into the remainder of your turkey leftovers. I love it on a lightly toasted bagel with a slice of swiss cheese. To make a basic turkey salad, simply chop or tear your leftover turkey into small pieces. Add some finely diced onion and celery. Combine with just enough mayonnaise and mustard to bind the salad. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Stir in some dried cranberries for an extra tasty touch!

Cider-Braised Turkey and Garlicky Creamed Spinach

You may recall that my recommendation for roasting the perfect Thanksgiving turkey is to roast it in parts, rather than as a whole bird. By roasting the breast separate from the drumsticks and thighs, you can cook each part to juicy perfection, rather than allowing the the breast to dry out while waiting for the legs and thighs to come up to temperature.

If desired, you can roast a few drumsticks and thighs alongside the breast, at the same temperature and with the same seasonings. Cooked separate from the breast, the drumsticks and thighs will cook more quickly (in about the same time as the breast). Use an instant read meat thermometer to test for doneness, since cooking time will vary based on weight and your oven’s exact temperature. Aim for 160-165 degrees for the breast and 170-175 degrees for the thighs and drumsticks.

Or for a little something different, try braising the dark meat using this very simple, very flavorful preparation. The meat will become fall-off-the-bone tender and you’ll have a delicious, ready-made sauce to serve along with it! You can even braise the parts the day before and reheat on the stovetop at a gentle simmer when you’re ready to serve (though the skin will lose some crispiness with reheating).

Give it a try! I think you’ll like it!

And you can click back to HERE to see last year’s post on how to roast a turkey breast.

Bacon and Cider Braised Turkey

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 turkey thighs, skin-0n, bone-in
  • 2 turkey drumsticks, skin-on, bone-in
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat the thighs and drumsticks dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the thighs and drumsticks. In a large dutch oven pan, cook bacon over medium/medium-high heat until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, leaving the bacon drippings in the pan. Place the thighs and drumsticks in the pan in a single layer, skin side down. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the skin is nicely browned. Then flip the pieces and cook for about three minutes on the other side. Pour the cider and chicken broth over the chicken. (The liquids should come about halfway up the sides of the turkey, leaving the browned skin exposed.) Return the bacon to the pan. Cover and place on the middle oven rack. Allow to cook for 90 minutes, undisturbed. Then, remove the cover and allow it to cook for 30 minutes more (to crisp up the skin and allow the sauce to reduce). Remove from the oven. Remove the turkey pieces and place on a platter. Pour the sauce into a measuring cup and allow it to cool for a few minutes. As it cools, the excess fat will rise to the surface. Use a spoon to remove the excess fat. Then, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired.

Serves 4

Garlicky Creamed Spinach

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1 pound baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Ground black pepper

Directions

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach to the pan. (It will look like a tremendous quantity of spinach. Don’t worry…it will drastically shrink as it wilts.) Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until all of the spinach has wilted. Add the heavy cream, parmesan cheese, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to a simmer and allow it to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the liquid reduces by at least half. Allow to cool slightly before serving, which will help the cream to thicken up a bit.

Serves 4

Favorite Thanksgiving Ideas

Hard to believe Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. I’d better get my butt in gear and start preparing.

To be honest, I’d been struggling to come up with new Thanksgiving recipes to share with you. I’m just really in love with my standard Thanksgiving dishes. It’s a menu that’s evolved over the past several years and in my mind, it’s the perfect Thanksgiving feast. But, as my husband reminded me, Thanksgiving is very much about tradition.

So, this Thanksgiving, we will be enjoying what has become our traditional Thanksgiving feast, but I have come up with a few new ideas to share. Over the next two weeks, keep your eyes out for a Pumpkin Vanilla Custard, How to Make an All-Butter Pie Crust Photo Guide, Spiced Pumpkin Wontons, From-Scratch Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Crispy Onion Straws, Garlicky Creamed Spinach, a fun twist on a classic Apple Pie, and Braised Turkey Drumsticks.

Yikes! Ok…it’s probably unrealistic that I’ll be able to get all of that posted before Thanksgiving. But I’m gonna give it an honest effort. Let me know if there’s anything in that list you’re especially interested in seeing and I’ll try to prioritize that post.

In the mean time, take a look back at some of my classic Thanksgiving favorites:

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy

Spiced Sweet Potato Puree with Pecan Streusel 

Sausage, Apple, and Leek Stuffing

Cranberry Orange Sauce 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts 

Hot Doughy Buns 

Asian-Style Turkey Meatball Sandwiches

I’m pretty sure I’m done with my holiday cookie baking for the year. Well, sort of. Ok, not really. I want to be done baking. I really do. I’ve softened more sticks of butter than I can count and my baking sheets are screaming for a break. The kids’ red wagon in the garage is overflowing with containers of cookies and chocolate confections, waiting to be sorted onto platters and into tins. By all accounts, I should be done. But then I keep thinking of just one more cookie I need to make this year. The current cookie nagging at me are those little buttery thumbprint cookies with marashino cherries. It may be my somewhat irrational pregnancy brain at work here, but I’m just not sure I can get through the season without those thumbprint cookies.

At the very least, I’m done baking for the next few days. I’ve still got a few more cookie recipes to share with you; Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies, Sand Tarts, and two chocolatey treats. But I’m giving the baking sheets a brief rest as I move on to thinking about holiday parties!

This Saturday, I’ll be preparing the food for a friend’s holiday party. Though I’ve cooked for plenty of my own parties and brought dishes for potlucks, I’ve never actually cooked for someone else’s party. I am very excited for the opportunity. And she’s having my favorite kind of party to cook for; one with an all-hors d’oeuvres menu. I love hors d’oeuvres so much that my hubby and I skipped the full sit-down dinner route for our wedding and went with an all hors d’oeuvres extravaganza. It was an hors d’oeuvres dream come true. To me, there’s just nothing better than a perfect bite-sized package of flavor.

As excited as I am to be cooking for this party, I’m also nervous in a way I don’t usually feel about my own parties. There’s a different level of pressure in making the food for someone else’s soiree; an added self-imposed expectation that everything is perfect. As such, I’ve been doing test runs of each item on the menu; working out the final touches and fine-tuning the reheating procedures.

Earlier this week, I decided to test the Asian-Style Turkey Meatballs with Hoisin Peanut Sauce. They’ll be served as an hors d’oeuvres during the party, with party picks and a bowl of the dipping sauce. But, for the purpose of my test-run, I turned them into a dinner sandwich, complete with a soft, doughy bun and crisp broccoli slaw.

Not only does this recipe make a perfect bite-sized appetizer for your next gathering, it makes a very satisfying meal any night of the week. All components can be made ahead of time, then reheated and assembled later, making it a perfect option for your upcoming holiday celebrations or a tasty weeknight dinner!

Asian-Style Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Turkey
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 – 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Olive Oil, for baking pan

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wipe the bottom of a baking pan with a bit of olive oil. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix together until well combined. If the mixture is too moist to roll, add additional bread crumbs, a little at a time. Roll small balls, about 1″ diameter, and place in an even layer in the baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until fully cooked.

If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until serving. To reheat, bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes 25-30 cocktail-sized meatballs


Hoisin Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Red Curry Paste (or Cayenne Pepper)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until serving. The sauce will become thick when cooled. Warm for a few seconds in the microwave to loosen up the sauce before serving.


Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 3 cups Broccoli Slaw Mix (Julienned Broccoli, Carrots, and Red Cabbage)

Directions

Combine mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, and cayenne until well blended. Add the broccoli slaw mix. Stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, stirring occasionally to distribute the dressing.

 

Four Variations on Thanksgiving Leftovers

Preparing a Thanksgiving feast for a crowd can be both exhilarating and utterly exhausting. At the end of the day, your kitchen looks like a tornado has whipped through it and you probably feel as if you’ve completed a triathlon. But, your belly is full, your guests have been well fed, and if you’re lucky, your fridge is filled with leftovers. Those are all things to be most thankful for.

Is there anything better than Thanksgiving leftovers?? I think not. Perhaps the most joyous part of a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers is being able to put your feet up for a few days, recover from the cooking marathon, and live off of the ready-made meals in your fridge. While it would be perfectly delicious to just reheat a plate of Thanksgiving dinner each night, it’s nice to add a little variety to leftovers; make it feel like a fresh meal every night. With that in mind, I offer you four simple variations on Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #1 – Turkey Soup

Don’t let that turkey carcass go to waste! There’s so much flavor waiting to be extracted from those bones. Get the broth started right after dinner. Simply throw the whole turkey carcass into a large pot, cover with water, and simmer (partly covered) for 3-4 hours. Don’t worry if there’s still some meat or turkey skin hanging on the turkey! Just throw the whole thing in the pot and let it start working while you sit down to enjoy some pumpkin pie. Once it’s simmered, strain the broth and refrigerate overnight. The next day, you can finish making the soup. Click here for my step-by-step guide to making a basic chicken soup. You can follow the same process for turkey soup.

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #2 – Open-faced Thanksgiving Sandwich

In my opinion, this is the best way to use leftovers on the day after Thanksgiving, when you’ve still got a bit of everything in the fridge. Simply reheat some leftover turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Spread some cranberry sauce on a lightly toasted slice of thick, doughy bread. Then, top the cranberry sauce with the hot turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Drizzle hot gravy over the entire thing and enjoy. This is a knife and fork kind of sandwich; simple, hearty, and satisfying.

Click here for more details on making an open-faced turkey sandwich any time of year.

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #3 – Roast Turkey, Brie, and Homemade Apple Butter Melts

This is my new personal favorite. Such a perfect combination of flavors. I happen to love apple butter; always have and probably always will. You can find it in most grocery stores, usually near the  jams and jellies. Look for one which doesn’t contain a lot of unnecessary added sugar or corn syrup. Apple butter really doesn’t need anything other than apples and a bit of apple cider or apple juice. Apple butter is a cinch to make at home. So, if you can’t find any at your store, follow my simple recipe to make your own. And, if apple butter just isn’t your thing, substitute some leftover cranberry sauce on these sandwiches. It will pair beautifully with the brie.

For the sandwiches, thinly slice brie and spread it onto a sturdy piece of bread. I prefer to use ciabatta or pain de campagne, but any doughy, crusty bread should work. Spread apple butter (or cranberry sauce) onto another piece of bread. Place a few slices of roasted turkey breast between the bread slices. Loosely wrap the sandwich in foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes in a 350 degrees oven, until the cheese has melted, the bread feels slightly toasted, and the turkey is warm.

Homemade Apple Butter

Ingredients

  • 5-6 Apples, peeled, cores removed, and coarse chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Apple Cider
  • Cinnamon Stick (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Simmer the apple pieces in the apple cider for about 20 minutes. If desired, add a cinnamon stick to simmer with the mixture. Then, puree the apples until smooth. Pour the puree into an oven-safe covered pan and place in the oven for about 5 hours. The apple butter will darken to a rich brown as it cooks.

Thanksgiving Leftover Variation #4 – Turkey Salad Sandwiches

Turkey Salad is a simple and delicious way to breathe new life into the remainder of your turkey leftovers. I love it on a lightly toasted bagel with a slice of swiss cheese. To make a basic turkey salad, simply chop or tear your leftover turkey into small pieces. Add some finely diced onion and celery. Combine with just enough mayonnaise and mustard to bind the salad. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Stir in some dried cranberries for an extra tasty touch!

It’s Thanksgiving Week! Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy

You didn’t think I’d leave ya hanging for Thanksgiving, did ya? I’d never do a thing like that! I figured it wouldn’t do you very much good if I waited until the day after Thanksgiving to share all of the delicious things I ate, so I’ve decided to officially declare this Thanksgiving Week on The Gourmand Mom.

We’ll start with the basics; turkey and gravy; and go from there. We’ll work our way through a fantastic Spiced Sweet Potato Puree with Pecan Streusel. Our mouths will water over some homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce. Then we’ll take a look back at my favorite stuffing recipe and a few other previously posted dishes which would make perfect additions to any Thanksgiving table. After that, we’ll try out a new doughy dinner rolls recipe I’ve got my eyes on. Finally, we’ll move on to the desserts; my mom’s Pumpkin Coconut Pie and my favorite Chocolate Pecan Pie. After that, well, we’ll just have to see where it goes from there.

Today, we’re starting with the turkey. I’ll let you in on my dirty little secret. I haven’t roasted a whole turkey in years. For the past fews years, I’ve been roasting a bone-in whole turkey breast separate from the drumsticks. Some people may claim that this is Thanksgiving culinary sacrilege. I claim that it produces the best end result. Here’s the deal… when you cook the turkey whole, you’re forced to continue cooking that big ole turkey until the slowest cooking parts come up to a safe temperature. In the mean time, this often results in overcooking and drying out the faster cooking breast. And who likes dried out turkey breast?? Not me!

By cooking the turkey breast separate from the drumsticks, you can cook each part to perfection. The roasted turkey breast continues to make a stunning presentation on the Thanksgiving table.  Serve it with roasted drumsticks on the side and you’ll hardly notice the difference. Besides, how long does everyone really sit and gaze at the whole turkey before it gets carved and served anyway? The roasted turkey breast is big, golden brown, and perfectly moist. Your guests will have nothing to complain about.

Because the turkey breast is smaller, it will require less cooking time. Furthermore, the smaller size is easier to handle overall. So, my recommendation is to cook a large turkey breast separate from the drumsticks. My grocery store carries whole turkey breasts right alongside the whole turkeys. One large turkey breast should serve at least 6-8 people with some leftovers. If you’re serving a large crowd, buy two. For dark meat lovers, grab a couple drumsticks. Go crazy. Buy more than two. Then roast (or braise) the drumsticks separately and serve with your perfectly roasted turkey breast.

There are many creative recipes out there for turkey. Food Network is consistently a wonderful source for turkey recipes and other Thanksgiving menu ideas. Today, we’re sticking with a basic herb-roasted preparation. We’ll rub the turkey with an herbed butter, then begin by roasting at a high temperature to achieve a nice brown color on the skin while searing the exterior to lock in the juices. Then, we’ll lower the heat and let the turkey finish cooking to perfection. As the turkey cooks, delicious juices will collect on the bottom of the roasting pan. We’ll enrich the flavor of those juices by placing a few aromatics, in the form of celery, carrots, and onions, in the bottom of the roasting pan. While the turkey is resting, we’ll be able to turn those juices and a bit of chicken stock into a simple and delicious pan-gravy.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy

Ingredients

  • 1 6-7 pound Turkey Breast (bone in)
  • 1/2 stick Butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary
  • 3/4 cup Carrots, coarse chopped
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 3/4 cup Celery, coarse chopped
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock

Directions

The night before, remove the turkey breast from it’s packaging. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and sit, uncovered in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the butter, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Rub the herbed butter all over the turkey. Working from the edges, try to loosen the skin and rub some of the butter directly onto the turkey breast. In the bottom of the roasting pan, scatter the carrots, celery, and onion. Add the chicken stock to the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 25 minutes. The skin should take on a nice golden browned color. Baste the turkey with the pan juices. Then, lower the heat to 325 degrees. Periodically, baste the turkey with the juices from the bottom of the pan. (If the bottom of the pan becomes too dry during cooking, add a little more stock.) Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Use an instant read meat thermometer, inserted into a deep part of the breast, to check the temperature. A 7 pound turkey will take approximately 2 hours at 325 degrees, after the initial 25 minutes at 475 degrees. When the turkey is cooked, remove the pan from the oven. Loosely cover the turkey with foil and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy and side dishes.

Serves about 6-8, generously

Turkey Pan Gravy

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • Drippings from Turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock (approximately)

Directions

Pour out the turkey juices from the roasting pan. Strain to remove the vegetables. Allow the juices to sit for a few minutes. The fat will rise to the top. Pour off the fat and reserve the remaining juices. Add chicken stock to the juices to make a total of 2 cups liquid. In a saucepan, combine the butter and flour over medium heat, whisking continuously. Cook for a minute or two. Then, whisk in the turkey juice/chicken stock. Bring to a simmer.Cook for 2-3 minutes until the gravy begins to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired.

Makes 2 cups

Now, if you’ve just got to create that beautiful, Norman Rockwell style, picture-perfect bird, here are a few tips for handling that whole turkey:

  • Do not stuff your turkey. Stuffing your turkey presents a food safety and moist turkey challenge. Since the stuffing is in contact with the raw turkey, it will need to reach a temperature of 165 degrees to be safe. In order to reach this safe temperature, you’ll often end up cooking the turkey longer than necessary. Instead, bake your stuffing separately and throw a few herbs and aromatics into the turkey cavity; celery, onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, etc.
  • Allow your turkey to sit uncovered in the fridge overnight before roasting. This will help to produce a crispier skin.
  • Start your turkey at a high temperature (475 – 500 degrees) for the first 20-30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 or 350 degrees to finish cooking.
  • Don’t bother with that flipping the turkey technique you may have seen. In my opinion, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
  • To brine or not to brine? Brining your turkey in a solution of salt, water, and other seasonings is said to produce a juicier and more flavorful turkey. There are people who swear by brining to produce the best turkey. I’m not one of those people. I’ve brined and I’ve not brined. In my opinion, the difference is minimal. But if you’ve got the time  and space to do it, go for it. Click here for a useful resource on brining.
  • Loosely tenting the turkey with foil during cooking can help to prevent over-browning and keep the turkey moist. Be sure to remove the foil during the last 45 minutes to achieve a nicely browned skin.
  • To be safe, all parts of your turkey should register 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Some resources list 180 degrees as the minimal temperature. The USDA recommends 165 degrees as measured in the  innermost part of the thigh and wing and the deepest part of the breast.
  • Let your turkey rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving. This is a good time to make the gravy and finish reheating your side dishes.
  • After dinner, throw the whole turkey carcass into a large pit of simmering water. Follow my procedure for chicken soup to make a tasty turkey soup. Click here for my chicken soup procedure.

A few excellent resources for turkey info:

FDA – Let’s Talk Turkey

Food Network – Top Ten Turkey Tips

Food Network – Turkey Recipes and Turkey Calculator

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