Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, pt 5 Turkey and stuffing

Turkey and stuffing:
Stuffing, yes, stuffing. As in I stuff my bird. My family has stuffed turkeys for generations and we've never gotten sick. However, we don't leave the turkey out, we don't prestuff the bird and then put it in the fridge, we don't slow cook the bird. In fact, we wash the cold bird inside and out with cold water, make the stuffing, IMMEDIATELY stuff the bird with it, season the bird and then IMMEDIATELY put the bird into a large enamel roasting pan, put the lid on the pan and put the pan into the preheated 325 degree oven. If I vary from this in the slightest, then all bets are off. You're on your own with stuffing your bird! I'm just telling you how I cook my turkey. YMMV THE FOOD POLICE SAY; "DO NOT STUFF TURKEY". SERIOUS ILLNESS MAY RESULT. It takes about 2 - 2.5 hrs to cook a 14 lb bird to 170 degrees this way.

1 turkey any weight
onion powder
garlic powder
poultry seasoning
For a 14 lb bird (add or subtract ingredients as bird weight goes up or down):
7 slices of white bread (yes, you may substitute your bread - whole wheat)
1/2 lb regular sausage (yes, you may use country sausage or hot sausage if you want)
1/2 large onions, diced
1 celery rib, diced (one stalk, piece, etc. just one, not the whole plant.)
1 tsp olive oil, oil, bacon grease or grease from cooking the sausage.
1/2 tsp salt (opt. I don't use much salt, so I don't use salt in my stuffing)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (opt)
1/2 tsp Adobo (opt)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (opt)

1. Cook the sausage on med-low heat. When no longer pink, remove from pan, place on paper towel that is on a plate and allow to drain. Pour off any excess grease. I buy "Jimmy Dean Sausage". I found that even though it's more expensive, I don't have a pan full of grease when I'm done cooking, but YMMV. In fact, as there was no grease in the pan, I had to add a little bacon grease to cook my veggies in.
2. While the sausage is cooking, dice the veggies. When the sausage is done, cook veggies in that pan, still set to medium low. After putting the veggies on to cook. Toss the bread onto the oven rack to toast and set oven to preheat (325 degrees.Bread doesn't need to be "browned", just dried out.
3. Also while the veggies cook, rinse out your roasting pan and dry it (to get rid of any dust that may have settled in it since it's last use. When I remember, I will spray the pan with a little cooking spray or olive oil.
4. When the veggies are done, remove the bread from the oven and break them into little chunks. In a bowl, mix the bread, sausage, veggies and any spices you want to use. Be careful, the sausage will be warm and the veggies hot!
5. THEN, take turkey out of fridge, open turkey bag, remove the ends of the legs from the little leg holder thingy, take neck, and giblets out of the body cavity. CHECK THE NECK AREA, sometimes they put part of the giblets in there! Wash your turkey inside and out with running water. (don't use soap! One day, when I was about 9, my mom told me to "wash the chicken". So I proceeded to pour dish soap on it and soap it up. lol She caught me and asked what I was doing - to which I very innocently replied; "Doing what you told me to. You told me to wash the chicken".) That's when I learned that "washing" a chicken/turkey was nothing more than rinsing it off well and looking for pin feathers. Check for pin feathers and remove if you find any. Remove the very inaccurate pop-up thingy. We're going to use a thermometer to see when the turkey is done! Turn turkey on end in sink so the water can drain out. This should all take no more than 3 minutes.
6. I start by lightly stuffing the neck area. I then fold the wings back on themselves (so it looks like the turkey is on it's back with it's "arms" behind it's head. Then I proceed to lightly stuff the body cavity. DO NOT PACK EITHER CAVITY! If you don't use all the stuffing (and I rarely do), then throw it away, give it to the dog or bake it with the turkey in a separate pan. Usually, it's only a handful that's left for my normal 14lb.something oz. bird. I then put the legs back into that little leg holder thingy that they put into the bird. The bird is now on it's back, centered in the pan.
7. Now I season the bird with Adobo, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning. I put it on a little heavier than I would if I were putting the seasonings on food on my plate. Insert a thermometer into the breast, about 1/2 way, making sure it doesn't touch the bone. (I use a quick read thermometer, so it doesn't go into the bird until I'm ready to see if it's done.)
8. Immediately place the lid on the roasting pan and put the whole thing in the oven. Turkey usually needs about 15 mins per pound of bird. So a 14 lb turkey should take about 3 hrs to cook. Mine usually cooks faster. I think it's the covered, dark enameled pan that is the culprit. I've check the oven temp with an oven thermometer, and the temp is accurate. So the only other thing is could be is the pan.
9. Bake at 325 degrees until internal temp reads 165 to 170 degrees.
10. (I just used the thermometer to check my almost 15 lb bird. After two hours, the temp is 150 degrees.) It took 2 hrs 45 mins to cook this bird today.


Lib said...

I wondered what happened to you.
So glad I found ya again!

Lib said...

Hi Darlene,
I'm back .I put you on my blog roll ,maybe I can keep up