Sunday, November 22, 2009

Roast Turkey

Select a nice young turkey with a plump breast (a hen turkey is best) and dress and prepare same as any other poultry. Use a plain bread chestnut or oyster dressing, and fill the body of the turkey, and sew up the slit in the vent with strong white cotton. Turn the wings back so they will rest against the back of the turkey, and tie the legs together, forcing them up a little against the lower breast bone. Butter the breast well (strips of bacon may be used instead) put a little water in the bottom of the roasting pan, add salt and pepper, and place in well heated oven, basting every ten minutes. Allow fifteen minutes to every pound. When done, remove string, place on hot platter and garnish. Thicken gravy in the pan, add finely chopped giblet that have been previously boiled, and serve with turkey.
The Neighborhood Cook, by The Council of Jewish Women, page 147, Portland, OR [Press of Bushong & Co., 1914]

Modernized version: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Remove the giblets and neck stuffed in the cavities of the turkey. Wash the turkey with cold water and pat dry. Brush lightly with olive oil. Place on a bed of sliced carrots and celery in a roasting pan. For a 12 to 14 pound turkey, roast breast side up for approximatley 2-3/4 hours to 3- 1/4 hours. You can baste your turkey with the pan drippings. The breast gets done before the dark meat, make a tent out of aluminum foil and place over the breast if the bird begins to brown too quickly.

In the meantime, make a glaze with 1 cup apple cider and 1/4 cup mild flavor molasses. Combine the two ingredients in a saucepan and bring mixture to boil over high heat; lower your temperature to a medium heat and simmer the glaze for 5 minutes.

Raise your oven temperature to 375 degrees. Insert a meat thermometer approximately 2 inches into the thickest part of the meat to check the temperature. When your turkey reaches 160 degrees, brush it with the glaze; repeating every ten minutes.

Place the turkey back into the oven. Watch the turkey carefully at this point. When the thermometer reads 165 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven. Cover the turkey and let it rest for 20 minutes on the counter.

Prior to roasting your turkey, you can also stuff the turkey cavity with 3 slices of lemon, 2 large shallots, a small bunch of thyme sprigs, sage and parsley.

To serve, remove the ingredients in the cavity, place on a platter and garnish with fresh parsley, fresh cranberries, grapes, or any other items which makes the presentation festive. Enjoy.

Note: It is best if dressing is made in a separate pan.

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