Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey

I picked up some hints on how to cook a perfect turkey.

I was watching my all-time favorite cooking TV show, America's Test Kitchen.

I gave myself the first tip.

Try to get the bird defrosted before it is time to put it in the oven.

But there are other ways to roast a turkey.  I watched the cooking and then took down notes to place into my black binder full of recipes I want to try.

"Lift the skin of the turkey carefully and salt with two tablespoons of salt, between the skin and the turkey."

I took that to mean, put on a large, long old shirt covering over my clothes, because I would soon be wrestling a turkey to separate it from its last vestige of decency.

This picture shows the turkey and me in a stable position.

Before this shot was taken, the turkey had slid off the counter and back into the sink with a thud, as well as another moment when I was clutching it to my chest in a death grip, before I finally caught on as to how to separate the skin away from the body of the turkey.

And all of that, after having seen it demo-ed on American's Test Kitchen. I would not have tried this with written directions only, because I would not have believed it could be done.

As well, they told how to make the perfect dressing. They were right. Start by toasting a loaf and a half of good quality bread. I used the Country Seed Bread that I had come out of the oven the day before. I made the dressing and didn't use any meat or both in it, given some of my guests were vegetarians.  No meat lover would believe that there was not even turkey broth in the dressing.  The sage, thyme and salt fooled everyone (plus the good quality bread full of flax, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

Between the dressing, the cranberry sauce (I added orange zest and ginger which I had crushed with the flat blade of a knife) and the turkey, I don't know which I had more compliments on.

The answer is probably the turkey, for Kelve who doesn't like turkey was telling me that it was so moist and beautiful, he thought he might have to change his mind about liking poultry.

The highlight of my day was getting that salt under the skin and next to the meat of the turkey. As well, I had to massage the outside of the skin with a teaspoon of  baking powder and one of salt. I was laughing so hard I had to have Mak take a picture.

Good luck on your Thanksgiving dinner.  I hope the preparation is as much fun as mine was for me.


  1. DO you separate the turkey from the skin? :-)

  2. Here is the method:
    Start down low where you would put the stuffing in the turkey. Take out the giblets and neck, which are still semi-frozen, but you can get them out and to the garbage (or ready to cook -- as you desire). Then start low and use your fingers as a spatula and slowly wiggle them up an inch or two, then across an inch or two, then keep moving forward and upward. When you get so that most of your fore arm is now encased between the skin and the body of the turkey, that is the moment when you will wish you had brought your camera, since you will be wishing you some permanent record that you did this at least once.