Tips for a successful turkey dinner
Step-by-step instructions from the November 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine provide an easy way to prep, cook and present...
Better Homes and Gardens
Step-by-step instructions from the November 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine provide an easy way to prep, cook and present your holiday turkey.
Prep and roast
Plan: Allow 1 to 1 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. That amount will leave enough for leftovers, too. Be sure to allow plenty of time — and space — to thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator (see chart, D3).
Prep: Find the giblets — heart, liver, gizzard — tucked inside the neck or body cavity and remove. Discard, if you're not using them, or cook and add to stuffing or gravy. If you are stuffing, plan about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of poultry.
Do not stuff until just before roasting. Loosely spoon stuffing into the neck and body cavities allowing room for expansion. If stuffing is packed in it will not reach a safe eating temperature by time turkey is done.
Pull neck skin over stuffing; use a long skewer to hold it in place. Tuck drumsticks under band of skin near tail, reset leg clamp or tie legs together with kitchen string. Twist wing tips up and under the bird's back. If not stuffing bird, bake stuffing in casserole.
Roast: Use the roasting chart (D3) to determine cooking times.
Carve and serve
Start with a sharp knife and a cutting board with a groove to capture juices.
Drumstick: Hold end of drumstick and cut through meat between thigh and body. Pull drumstick away from body and remove by cutting through joint where thigh connects to body. Separate thigh from drumstick by cutting through joints that hold them together.
Breast: Steady the bird with a carving fork and cut horizontally into the breast just above the wing. Remove the entire breast by cutting from the top of the bird down to the horizontal cut, using the breast bone as a guide for your knife.
Finishing touch: Put the breast on a cutting board and slice meat in even pieces. Carve the thigh and drumstick in slices, if desired. Arrange turkey slices on a serving platter.
Tips for better carving
Give it a rest: When you take the turkey out of the oven, tent it with foil and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to be absorbed into the meat, making for juicier turkey.
Stay safe: To keep your cutting board from slipping while carving, place a dampened paper towel or thin kitchen towel under the board. Use a cutting board with grooves to catch juices.
Sharpen your knife: A sharp knife is a must. You can tell if your knife is sharp by using it to cut paper. It should slice, not tear the paper. If it's not sharp, use a sharpener to produce an edge that's better than the alternative.
Saw, don't rip: Carve with long, light strokes. Bearing down will shred meat rather than cutting it cleanly.
Finally: Neat rows of sliced turkey, artfully arranged, sets up your bird as the luscious star of the table. Keep the platter decoration simple; perch a bowl of roasted fruit or herbs to one side and call it done.
Common turkey dilemmas
How long can I keep leftovers?
First step is to cover and refrigerate meat within two hours of cooking. Then eat it within two days. Otherwise freeze it for up to six months.
What if I have more questions?
Fear not. Trusted resources are just a mouse click or phone call away. For specific instructions for roasting a whole bird, or just a turkey breast or drumsticks, visit the magazine's Interactive Roasting Guide at BHG.com/roastingguide. See accompanying story for more help.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
NEW - 10:07 AM
Obese people asked to eat fast food for health study
NEW - 7:00 PM
Wine Adviser: Some good Washington wineries got away
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.