My First Turkey
‘I don’t think I will ever forget the very first time I cooked a turkey on my own (well I tried to lol). I was 19 yrs old and my husband and I (yes married very early at 15 yrs old) decided to have Thanksgiving Dinner at home that year. We had no children yet and I hadn’t started cooking and baking as a passion just yet. So I was on the phone with my mom asking her for help.
She was giving me all the instructions I needed and then came the hard part. Mom tells me I have to put my hand inside the bird and pull the giblets and neck out. “WHAT!!! I can’t do that! that is just disgusting” I remember her laughing at me and asking me how did I think they got out of the bird? they don’t pull them out themselves.
I stared at that bird in the sink for what seemed liked forever. Ok that’s it! I said to my husband (by the way he was a professional cook lol ) “I’m going in!” Well I went to put my hand in the turkey and NOPE can’t do it. It was so disgusting, I was ready to order pizza and throw it out. My mom was ashamed “Laurie! don’t you dare throw that turkey out, I taught you better than that!’
Did I Throw It Out?
I bet you’re thinking that I sucked it up and cleaned out that bird aren’t you? Well I didn’t do it hahaha. I’m embarrassed to say I called a taxi for my mom and made her some and do it for me. I sat and watched her make my turkey for me that year. I didn’t try again for about 4 years, that was after I had our son. Now not just a wife, but a mom too. I had to be the best cook I was taught to be. I have now cooked our turkey’s every year ever since!
I Did Get Better
Still some years were not easy, fuse blows in stove on Christmas Day, had to drive all over the city to find a store open to fix that. The following year the element in the oven broke and the fuse blew, again on Christmas Day. That year I cooked the turkey at my mom’s and I did potatoes in the crock pot. I bought a new stove after that and (knock on wood) have never had anymore problems cooking turkey.
Remove giblets and neck from turkey, reserve for stock or gravy. Rinse turkey under cold salt water. Pat dry inside and out.
Add a butter rub, makes the skin crisp and golden brown. I also add a few strips of bacon sometimes to the top after it is buttered to let the bacon juice cook into the turkey.
- 1 turkey (15 lb)
- 1 onion quartered
- 2 stalks celery cut in chunks
- 2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Place onion, celery, and half each of the sage and marjoram in cavity.
Tuck legs under band of skin or tie together with kitchen string.
Fold skin over neck cavity, skewer to back. Twist wings under back.
Place, breast side up, on greased rack in roasting pan
Combine butter, pepper and remaining sage and marjoram ; brush over turkey.
To this point it can be loosely covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 24 hours
Roast turkey in 325 F oven, basting with pan drippings every 30 - 40 minutes, for 3 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer inserted in thigh registers 170 F (77 C) and juices run clear when turkey is pierced.
Transfer to cutting board. Tent to foil; Let stand for 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to settle all into the turkey. YUMM!
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pour pan drippings into gravy strainer or large measuring cup.
Skim off fat, reserving 1/4 cup
Add enough of the stock to make 3 cups liquid
Pour reserved fat back into roasting pan. Using wooden spoon, stir in flour, marjoram and pepper; stir over medium heat for about I minute.
Gradually whisk in stock mixture and vinegar; bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often. for 10 minutes or until thickened
Strain into warmed gravy boat
It’s Not Complete Without The Stuffing
This stuffing can be made ahead of time. In can be frozen in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. To use; thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 cups mixed dried fruit, (apples, peaches, pears, apricots, prunes) chopped
- 5 stalks celery finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 med onions chopped
- 4 tsp dried sage
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram
- 1/2 each salt and pepper
- 14 cups day old french bread cubed
- 1/2 cup toasted hazlenuts chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
In a large skillet, melt half of the butter over medium heat; cook fruit, celery, garlic, onion, sage, marjoram, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until softened
In large bowl, toss celery mixture with bread. (if you are making this ahead of time, this is where you stop to freeze in an air tight container)
Sprinkle with nuts
Melt remaining butter with 1 cup of the stock; drizzle over stuffing and toss to combine
Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish
Cover and bake in top rack of at 350 F oven for 30 minutes
Stir in remaining stock; bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until golden brown and heated through.