How to Cook a Turkey
There is nothing quite like a dry, overcooked turkey to deflate the ego of a proud Thanksgiving cook. And even though everyone dines on turkey every November, mastering its preparation can be tricky. There are many variables that play a part in cooking the perfect holiday bird, but following a few basic guidelines on times and weights will help ensure a moist, delicious result.
Below are approximate cooking times for different sizes of turkeys. These times are based on roasting the turkey in a 325°F oven. Some recipes call for a higher temperature for the first 30 to 45 minutes, and some call for a 350°F oven; so the overall cooking time for those turkeys will be reduced. A good rule is to check for doneness about 30 minutes before you expect the turkey to be finished. Remember that the turkey is fully cooked when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) registers 180°F.
Turkey Cooking Times – 325°F oven
Weight Unstuffed Stuffed
10 to 18 pounds 3 to 3½ hours 3 ¾ to 4½ hours
18 to 22 pounds 3½ to 4 hours 4 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4 to 4½ hours 4½ to 5½ hours
24 to 29 pounds 4½ to 5 hours 5½ to 6¼ hours
How to Carve a Turkey
To carve drumstick, steady it with a carving fork and cut a thick slice of meat from one side of the drumstick, along the bone.
Next, turn the drumstick over so that the cut side faces down. Cut off another thick slice of meat. Repeat, turning the drumstick onto a flat side and cutting off meat, carving a total of four thick slices.
To slice the thigh, place it flat side down on cutting board. Steady the thigh with a carving fork. Using knife, cut parallel to the bone and slice off the meat.
Before the breast is carved, the wing must be removed. Slice diagonally down through the bottom edge of the breast toward the wing. Using knife as aid, press the wing out to find the shoulder joint; cut through the joint and remove wing.
To carve the breast meat, hold the back of the carving fork against the breastbone. Starting parallel to the breastbone, slice diagonally through the meat. Lift off each slice, holding it between the knife and fork.
Continue until you have carved all the meat on one side of the breast. Repeat carving on other side of breast.
Herb Roasted Turkey:
Nothing could be simpler than roasting a turkey. Honest! Think of it as a big chicken. No doubt, you have roasted one of those. This recipe is very simple, making the most of the traditional bird’s flavor. The dressing is baked separately allowing the bird to roast evenly and more quickly than if stuffed. It also will be easier to carve and serve.
10-12 lb. turkey, fresh, organic preferred, if available
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into 2” cubes
3-4 sprigs parsley
2-3 Tbs. Herbes de Provence
2-3 oz. organic butter, melted
Celtic Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Remove neck, gizzard, heart and wing tips and reserve for making stock for both dressing and gravy. (See dressing recipe.) Can be done a day ahead.
Wash turkey inside and out and pat dry. Place onion, celery, and parsley inside turkey together with 1 Tbs. Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Truss turkey if necessary and brush with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle generously with the Herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Can be done the night before and refrigerated, if desired.
When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425°F.
Also, butter or oil the roasting rack, and place the turkey, breast down, on the rack in the roasting pan. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes, basting once after 15 minutes. Turn turkey breast side up, reduce heat to 325°F and continue roasting; baste with the butter or pan juices every 15 – 20 minutes.
Bake approximately 15 – 20 minutes per pound until breast meat registers 170°F. Test by sticking meat thermometer in thickest part of breast and not touching bone.
When done, remove to warm platter and cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil until ready to carve.
Ingredients for broth:
Neck, gizzard, heart and wing tips from the turkey
1 stalk celery
1-2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs parsley
4 cups chicken stock, homemade is best
1 cup water
Ingredients for dressing:
1 loaf gluten-free bread
2 cups diced onion
1 ½ cups diced celery
1 cup diced green bell pepper
2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 16 oz. jar prepared chestnuts, chopped
Celtic Sea Salt
Cube or tear bread (including crust) into small pieces to make 12 cups. Spread out on a large baking pan to dry for 4-5 hours or overnight.
Place the turkey pieces in a large saucepan with the onion, celery, bay leaves and parsley. Add the chicken stock and water, bring to a boil, skim froth from top and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 1 hour and strain into a bowl. There should be at least 4 cups liquid. If not, add water to make 4 cups. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside. Can be prepared the day before to this point.
Place bread pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle, while tossing, with 2 cups of the prepared broth so that bread pieces are evenly moistened. (Reserve remaining broth for the gravy.) Add the diced onion, celery, bell pepper, sage, parsley and chestnuts.
Mix together thoroughly and check seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon into a butter baking dish and bake in a 375°F oven 40-50 minutes.
Skim fat from pan juices and discard. And ½ cup water to pan, place over moderate heat and boil 2-3 minutes while scraping pan with wooden spoon to loosen particles stick to bottom and sides. Strain into bowl.
In a saucepan melt 3 Tbs. organic butter until bubbling, add 3 Tbs. flour and stir rapidly for a few seconds to cook the flour. Add reserved pan juices and the remaining 2 cups broth from the dressing recipe.
Whisk or stir rapidly over moderate heat until smooth and thickened. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Pour into a warm sauceboat or wide mouth pitcher for serving.
Everyone’s favorite every bit as delicious made with rice milk and butter. The chives add a special, fragrant touch.
5 medium (about 2 pounds) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup rice milk or coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon organic butter
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried
Celtic Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook the potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to the saucepan and add the rice milk and butter. Mash with a rotary mixer or a potato masher until smooth. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Cauliflower is an excellent source of sulfur and other minerals, and a viable alternative to white potatoes.
One head of organic cauliflower
Coconut oil or butter
Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea Salt
Bring a quart size pan with water to the boiling point
Cut the cauliflower into small pieces
Cook until fork tender
Add two tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
Sprinkle on garlic powder, Paprika and or Salt
Sweet Potato Cakes:
Sweet potatoes were baked in ashes, added to stews and made into unleavened breads. The eggs would have been wild bird or duck eggs.
4 large sweet potatoes
3 organic eggs, beaten
1 cup coconut flour or brown rice flour
1 ½ tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
2 Tbs. olive, rice or coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake sweet potatoes until tender; peel and mash. When cool, add eggs, flour and salt. Heat griddle; brush with oil. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto griddle. Fry cakes 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook other side 3 to 4 minutes. Keep cakes warm until serving time. Makes 8 servings.
Sweet Potato Risotto:
1 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp olive, rice or coconut oil
2 cups sweet potatoes (about 1 medium size)
1 cup short grain brown rice, uncooked
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
½ tsp. black pepper
Saute onion in one tablespoon oil. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into ½” cubes. Add remaining one tablespoon of oil and potatoes to onions, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add rice and sauté for 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Serve warm or chill and serve cold.
Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Apples:
3 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (about 3 very large), peeled, cut crosswise into 1/4” thick rounds.
1 ¾ pounds red apples, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4” thick slices
¾ cup pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup
¼ cup apple cider
¼ cup organic, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 375°. In 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish, alternate potato and apple slices in rows, packing tightly. Combine remaining ingredients in heavy medium saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Pour hot syrup over potatoes and apples. Cover dish tightly and bake one hour. Uncover casserole. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature, basting occasionally with pan juices.)
Reduce temperature to 350°. Bake until potatoes and apples are very tender and syrup is reduced to thick glaze, basting occasionally, about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
1 Cup Unsweetened Almond, Rice or Coconut Milk
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
2 Cups unsweetened canned pumpkin (1 – 16 oz. can)
1/2 Cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 unbaked 9” pie crust (or homemade pie crust using almond meal)
Preheat oven to 425°. Mix all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350° and bake for 40-50 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
Remove from oven; set on a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 – 9” pie
Non-Dairy Vanilla Pudding:
4 cups water
1 Tbsp. agar powder or 4 heaping Tbsp. agar flakes
(available from health food stores)
2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
½ tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
1 Tbsp. lecithin granules
1 Tbsp. Stevia liquid concentrate
4 Tbsp. vanilla flavoring
(non-alcoholic available from health food stores)
3 small yellow squash, chopped, cooked, drained well and pureed
Dissolve agar in 2 cups water. Dissolve arrowroot in 2 Tbsp. water. Combine and cook on low heat until thickened. Add sea salt, lecithin, stevia, and remaining water. Simmer 10-15 minutes and pour into baking dish to cool and gel ( several hours or faster with refrigeration). When gelled mixture is firm, place in blender and blend until smooth. Add pureed yellow squash and vanilla, and continue blending until very creamy.
Brown Rice Pudding:
Comfort food for the body and soul. (Serves 8)
2 cups almond milk, Rice Dream or unsweetened Coconut milk
2 Tbs pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
2 cups cooked brown rice
Preheat oven to 325°. Oil a 2-quart baking dish.
Mix almond milk with maple syrup, vanilla, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Stir in raisins, apple and rice.
Pour mixture into baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Cover and bake for 25 minutes.
Uncover and bake for 5 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.
Rice Crispy Squares:
6 Cups of rice cereal
1 ½ Cups almond butter
¾ – 1 Cup Fruit Sweet
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp butter
Heat almond butter, sweetener, vanilla, butter. Stir frequently at low heat. Have rice cereal measured and ready in mixing bowl. Pour warm mixture over cereal and mix together. Pour into 8 ½ x 11” pan – press gently. Refrigerate for ½ hour; cut into squares. Serve!
Eat to Live Not Live to Eat