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Thanksgiving Survival Guide

The Basic Turkey

November 18, 1998

A beautiful turkey is the glorious centerpiece of a Thanksgiving table. The skin of the turkey should be golden brown on the outside. And the inside, moist and tender.

Yes, there are blackened turkeys and smoked turkeys and turkeys rubbed with herbs and spices. But if you want a traditional dinner, go for a good old-fashioned roast turkey.

Roast Turkey

Total Preparation Time: 5 hours, 50 minutes * Total Work Time: 20 minutes

1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, thawed



Basic Bread Stuffing or stuffing of choice

Butter, melted

* Remove giblet bag from turkey. Check both cavities for extra parts. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry. Rub salt and pepper to taste into neck and body cavities.

* Loosely pack stuffing into neck and body cavities. Do not overstuff. Stuffing expands during cooking. Skewer neck skin to back of bird to hold stuffing in place. Tuck drumsticks with clamp or skin band, or tie with kitchen twine, and tuck wings under bird. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey. If recipe makes more stuffing than bird will hold, place in lightly greased casserole at 325 degrees until heated through, 30 to 45 minutes.

* Place turkey, breast-side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush with melted butter. Roast uncovered at 325 degrees 20 to 22 minutes per pound (if turkey weighs more than 16 pounds, roast 18 to 20 minutes per pound), or until thermometer reaches 170 to 175 degrees in thigh or 165 degrees in stuffing. Check turkey for doneness by inserting instant-read meat thermometer into center of thigh and inside stuffing.

* Baste with melted butter every 30 to 45 minutes. If bird is browning too fast, tent loosely with foil or cover breast with butter-soaked cheesecloth.

* When turkey is done, remove from oven and let turkey rest at room temperature 20 minutes.

10 to 12 servings. 10 servings, without stuffing: 553 calories; 706 mg sodium; 217 mg cholesterol; 31 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 55 grams protein; 0.20 gram fiber.

Note: To roast turkey unstuffed, season bird with salt and pepper to taste inside and out. If desired, insert pieces of celery, carrots and onions to improve flavor. Fold neck skin to back and fasten with skewer. Fasten legs down by tying or tucking under clamp or skin band.

Basic Bread Stuffing

Total Preparation Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes * Active Work Time: 20 minutes

1/2 cup butter

1 large onion

1 to 2 cups diced celery leaves

12 cups toasted 1/2-inch bread cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried sage or 1/4 cup minced fresh sage

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 cup turkey stock, water or milk

* Melt butter in large stockpot. Add onion and celery, and cook until vegetables are tender but not browned. Add to bread cubes in large bowl. Add salt, pepper, sage and parsley, and toss until well mixed. Add turkey stock and blend well.

* Bake any excess stuffing in lightly greased casserole at 325 degrees until heated through, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Stuffs 1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, about 10 to 12 servings. Each of 12 servings: 126 calories; 469 mg sodium; 23 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.20 gram fiber



1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey

1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries

6 baking potatoes

1 pint half-and-half

1 pint milk

1 bunch sage

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

1 head celery

2 onions

1 carrot

1 loaf bread

1 bunch parsley

1 orange





Cinnamon sticks



Dark brown sugar




5 eggs





3 Days Before: Buy frozen turkey. Put in refrigerator to defrost. Make cranberry sauce, cover and refrigerate.

2 Days Before: Prepare pumpkin pie filling and make dough for crust.

Day Before: Roll out crust and fit in pie plate. Fill and bake. Cool and set aside. Cut bread into cubes for stuffing and bake in 200-degree oven until dry, about 1 hour. Set aside.

Day of dinner:

9:30 a.m.: Chop onion, celery, sage and parsley for stuffing. Combine with other ingredients.

10 a.m.: Stuff turkey and put in oven.

Noon: Brown giblets for gravy. Add onions, carrots and peppercorns; then add water and bring to boil. Simmer to make turkey stock.

1 p.m.: Peel potatoes for mashed potatoes and cover with water to hold.

3: Boil potatoes for mashed potatoes.

3:30: Remove turkey from oven, tent with foil and set aside to rest. Make mashed potatoes.

3:45: Deglaze roasting pan with stock to make gravy.

4: Carve and eat.


All kitchen equipment in tool photos from HomeChef, Pasadena.

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