Thursday, March 4, 2010

Garden-Variety Turkey

About once a year, Deacon MacFarland and his wife Theresa ask several of us volunteers from church to cook up turkeys for the local homeless shelter. When we agreed to do this last year for the first time, I was a little hesitant, but upon reflection, I thought "Hey, what better way to practice turkey cooking than on people who are not family/friends and when there's no holiday meal on the line to screw up"? I got the call for our second go-round this past week. Based on last year's success, I felt much better about things this time. You can see the end result above.

Yes, it strikes me too that the wings are albino pale, while the rest of the bird is nicely browned, but we carve up the bird before bringing it to the shelter, so the recipients won't see that (and probably wouldn't care anyway, God bless 'em). I actually feel good enough about cooking turkeys now that I'd be willing to attempt a holiday one when the stakes are much higher. For those of you interested, I used my mom's turkey recipe as follows:

1. Remove innards from cavity and rinse/dry bird inside and out (note: this was the most challenging part of my prep today as Hackknifette decided she needed to be picked up at the exact moment I was elbow-deep in salmonella-ridden flesh).

2. Place turkey on roasting rack in roasting pan (I used a large disposable foil one you get at the store for about 4 bucks). For ease of maneuverability, I put the foil pan on a cookie sheet.

3. Season bird w/salt and pepper. Brush outer skin w/a half-stick of melted butter.

4. Pour basting liquid into bottom of pan. My mom's basting liquid consists of 3/4 cup EACH white wine, 7-Up, and water, which works for about a 15-lb bird.

5. Cover bird w/foil and poke a couple of holes in it to let steam escape.

6. Roast for 2 hours at 325F. Remove foil and baste w/liquid in bottom of pan about every 20-30 minutes until bird is browned and done (in my case, about another 1.5 hr after removing the foil).

7. Let sit for 1 hour after taking it out of the oven. Carve up and try to resist eating large quantities while bagging up, all the while chanting "you ingrate, this is for hungry people, not you".

That's all. Stayed tuned for a full report from the local VFW Lenten fish fry tomorrow night......

1 comment:

  1. I use a clay roaster for turkeys (and for any other meat that I happen to be oven roasting). Very easy to use and makes for a really moist product on the dinner plate. Give it a try some time......