Since I have been married, every holiday that calls for a turkey dinner puts me into a mini panic. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you. I have been following my moms step by step instructions that she emailed me on October 4, 2005 titled “how to do the turkey”. Each year it is getting harder and harder to find the instructions. First, I had to recall it on email, then after about a year, I lost the email all together and had 3 paper copies of it, then 2, and now one.
So to make sure I never lose these instructions, and to share them with any other delusional domestic gods and goddesses out there, here they are (word for word). Please note, this is assuming the dinner is on the Sunday, for other days just adjust accordingly.
How To Do The Turkey
1. Buy turkey, if fresh, get it on Saturday & keep in fridge. If frozen, buy earlier in the week and keep frozen and take out to thaw the day before. If I am cooking a frozen dinner, let’s say for Sunday dinner, I take it out of the freezer on Saturday morning as soon as I get up and thaw it in a sink full of water. Write yourself a note on the fridge to take out.
2. Mix your stuffing recipe.
3. Rinse the turkey in cold water. Pay attention how you undo where the legs are tucked in to keep turkey snug. Look inside and there should be some gizzards wrapped in a paper or plastic bag, take out. You can cook the neck alongside the turkey. In the bag is also the turkey liver, I don’t cook for myself, but you can cook it for the cats, they will probably love that.
4. Put turkey on counter, then stuff the stuffing into the turkey where the insides have been taken out. Once stuffed, tuck the turkey legs just like they were before you undid them.
5. Put the turkey on it’s back on the wire tray thingy and put it in the roaster. (Note: if you can get a wire tray with handles it is easier to lift in and out of the roaster)
6. Once the turkey is in the roaster, melt about 1/4-1/2 cup butter, then brush on turkey so it is all coated on the side that is up, including legs & wings. You can add a little bit of water to the bottom of the roaster to keep it moist, about 1/4 inch, no more.
7. Cover and cook at 325°C (Celsius). Turkey might be done in 4 hours. Keep basting turkey every 1/2 to 3/4 hours to keep it moist. (Note: when you first go to baste the turkey, if you don’t have a lot of juices at the bottom of the roaster, you can add a little bit of water – about 1/4 to the bottom of the roaster to get things started). The last 1/2 hour you can take the cover off of the turkey to brown. Test by sticking a fork in the turkey breast part. It is done when the fork goes in easy. Just remember, the more often you open the oven to baste the turkey, the longer it takes to cook. If it takes about 4 hours to cook, only baste it 4 times.
8. Do up your potatoes, veggies, etc so they will be done around the time the turkey should be done.
9. When done, take turkey out of pan and put somewhere you can carve it (I mean somewhere Papa Bird can carve it).
10. To make the gravy, heat the liquid from the pan, in the same roaster on the stove. Take about 1/2 cup flour, add in about 1/4 cup water, some salt and pepper and shake in a container with a lid. Once the liquid on the stove starts to boil, slowly add in the flour mixture and keep mixing. This will make your gravy. If this is too thick, add more water, if too thin, add a little more flour.
11. Once gravy is the way you like it, it may have lumps in it. Strain the gravy INTO A POT and the gravy will be smooth. One of the guys at work was telling me that when his wife cooked her first turkey, she strained her gravy into the sink and was left with the lumps!!! All of the good stuff went down the drain!!! Something you want to avoid.
12. Serve and enjoy.