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I am simply a person who adores dark poultry meat instead of white so why cook an entire turkey? My idea must be getting popular because two of three local markets here had completely run out of the legs first thing this morning and the only reason the third one had any left was because they are an absolutely huge, well stocked market. Even going to that market this afternoon was a Blessing, because I was able to get three of the last seven 2 pound each packages. I had called them just two hours before and the store still had thirty packages. Lesson learned! I will be shopping extra early for Christmas Turkey legs and freeze them. ;-)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Pour the 15 ounce can of chicken broth into the bottom of a roasting pan.
Combine lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and sage in a small bowl and rub well over turkey legs. Lightly coat with olive oil and stagger layer legs in the roasting pan with onion and celery tucked under and in between the legs.
Bake, covered with a foil tent, at 325 degrees F until a meat thermometer reads 175 degrees F, basting every 30 minutes.
Remove turkey legs to a serving platter and keep warm.
Combine flour and the 1 cup of chicken broth in a saucepan until smooth, add all pan drippings including bits, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly.
By Deeli from Richland, WA
I still like to put my stuffing directly into the turkey cavity. My mother did it for years and so have I and it's perfectly safe. No one has ever gotten ill from this. However, scooping the stuffing out can be quite messy.
This is my mom's recipe from when I was a kid. Best turkey I have ever eaten!
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Rinse bird in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Fold wings, bringing wing tips to the back of the bird. Fill neck cavity with stuffing, if desired. Stuff body cavity as well, but do not pack stuffing as it will expand as it cooks. If you do not wish to stuff the bird, rub the inside of the bird with salt. Push drum sticks under a band of skin at the tail.
Place turkey, breast side down and allow to bake at least 1/2 of the time. Then, turn the turkey over carefully. Baste with butter. The browning of the bird will take place now so continue to baste with the juices from the roasting pan every 30 minutes. If you use a meat thermometer, make sure it does not touch the bone.
Covering with aluminum foil will prevent excessive browning. Allow the turkey to stand 20-30 minutes to set before carving.
Mom would always set the oven temp low and usually got up around 2AM and put the turkey in. She let it bake on about 250-300 degrees F, depending on the size, until dinner time the next day. She started all the basting, etc. after she got up for the day, around 6AM. The slower the turkey cooks, the more tender it will be and believe me, if you do it like this, it will literally fall apart. Yum!
By Robin from Washington, IA
I always dreaded the clean up after roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving. The whole idea of thawing for three days, cleaning etc. wasn't something I looked forward to doing with a 40 hour work week, and 3 kids; and husband that never helped in the kitchen. Actually, I never asked him.
I found out that you can buy a raw, de-boned turkey, complete with dark and white meat. It is slightly wrapped with string and looks like a rather small oval about the size of a football without the pointed ends. The directions for cooking are written clearly on the package.
Now I find them a little difficult to find in the stores. I thought they would be in demand, but I think that most people misunderstand and think that they are that awful pressed turkey meat. This is not true! It is the real thing, just without the bones.
Think about how nice it would be not having to pick the turkey carcass clean, and then clean up that mess as well. With this de-boned turkey, you just pop the cooked leftovers in the fridge. It is delicious for sandwiches or warmed up for a second meal.
I discovered this product by accident, and can't even remember the brand names. Ask your butcher behind the counter about them.
By hopeful from Salem, OR
If you have time, try seasoning your turkey and then returning it to the fridge for 2 or 3 hours before beginning to roast it.
By Robin from Washington, IA
Cover a turkey with cheesecloth soaked in melted butter or olive oil, and it will baste itself! Remove it during the last 30 minutes of baking to let the skin get brown. By Robin
Rub the turkey inside and out with kosher salt. Place the bird in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water. Place in the refrigerator, and allow the turkey to soak in the salt and water mixture 12 hours, or overnight.
Place a whole onion (skin and all) along with few large pieces of celery inside the cavity of your turkey before baking for a very moist and flavorful bird. I also baste the turkey with apple juice instead of butter or fat ...
Roasting the Turkey in a clean big paper bag for the moistest turkey ever. Clean and dress turkey as usual. Take the paper bag, use a coating of oil inside the bag enough to place the turkey onto then place the turkey inside and close the bag up.
Recipe for Roasted Turkey. Place 7 layers of aluminum foil on a large surface. Spread out 1 lb. bacon on foil. Place turkey on top. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Drape the other 1 lb. of bacon over turkey. Fill turkey cavity with ice cubes.
Fancy Turkey Recipe with Wild Mushroom Gravy
To get under the skin of turkey when you want a spice rub under the skin, use the handle of a wooden spoon. This works well with chicken too and is easier than trying to use your fingers.
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By Charlie Burke
It was with some trepidation that I approached the topic of roasting a turkey.I wondered if our readers needed yet another recipe for turkey in November when the cover of nearly every cooking magazine is adorned with a picture-perfect browned bird, while the editors struggle to convince us that, (at last!), the definitive recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey is contained within.
I have Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines filed by month and dating back for more than twenty years, so last weekend I pulled out all the November issues dating back to the late 1970's. It was amusing to see all the differing approaches: wide variations of temperatures touted as ideal, turkeys roasted in various positions and subjected to all sorts of injections, rubs and subcutaneous additions. A current magazine even advises making an incision in each breast and filling them with herbed butter!
It soon became clear to me why there is so much mystique associated with what should be a simple process, and why so many cooks are intimidated by the prospect of cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The goal of this column then became clear - to provide a straightforward, safe and reliable recipe resulting in a correctly cooked turkey, moist and full of flavor
If you have read previous columns, you probably have noticed that I favor roasting at high heat, which I've done almost exclusively over the past ten years since becoming familiar with Barbara Kafka's classic cookbook: "Roasting, A Simple Art" (William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1995). She makes the case, confirmed by our experience, that a properly cooked turkey is moist and tender without injections or other machinations.
High heat roasting (500 degrees) intensifies flavors and considerably shortens cooking time so there is less time for the white meat to dry out while the dark meat reaches proper temperature. We have found that fresh local turkey cooks in a surprisingly short time and has superior taste, although commercial turkeys are quite consistent in quality. It is important that the oven be clean, because excess smoke will be caused by any residue in the oven.
Turkeys in the 12 - 16 pound range are ideal for this technique, while brining, the only extra step worth considering, helps ensure a moist result; kosher birds should not be brined because salt has already been added. Because the skin is impervious, spreading with oil or butter or basting are not necessary to keep the meat moist. Additionally, the turkey should be covered with a moist cloth and brought to room temperature before cooking at high temperature (3 - 5 hours for a 15 - 16 pound turkey).
Cooking the turkey without dressing gives the best results because of shorter cooking time and is safer. All poultry have salmonella risk, and dressing served below 180 degrees is the most common source of food poisoning from turkey. If you wish to cook the dressing in the turkey, bring it to room temperature before placing it into the turkey and make sure it reaches the proper temperature. It is best to cook it in a casserole adding some of the liquid from the roasting pan for flavor.
A thick-bottomed roasting pan with handles and an instant reading thermometer are good investments which can be used for roasting meats and vegetables throughout the year.
To serve 10 or more:
If brining, dissolve salt in water in a large stock pot. Add turkey and refrigerate overnight. Remove from brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Proceed as below.
Place a small volume of oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add neck, gizzard and heart and cook, turning until browned. Add the remaining stock ingredients and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, skimming foam from time to time. Strain and set aside. This can be done well ahead of the rest of the meal.
Rinse inside and out, dry with paper towels and bring turkey to room temperature, keeping skin covered with a moist towel to prevent drying. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (450 degrees works nearly as well; cooking times will be slightly longer). Sprinkle turkey with ground pepper and salt and place into a roasting pan; we place it directly into the pan, but a rack can be used. Cook, rotating pan 180 degrees after 1 hour; add 1 -2 cups water or chicken stock to pan if drippings appear to be turning too dark.
Check temperature in the thickest part of the thigh at 1 3/4 hours. Remove from oven when temperature is 170 degrees, about 2 hour's total cooking time for unstuffed turkey. Add approximately 30 minutes if you have stuffed the turkey. Let turkey sit for 30 minutes, during which the temperature in the thigh should reach 180 degrees.
While turkey is resting, pour fat from roasting pan and place pan over medium - high heat. Pour stock into pan; boil, scraping up the browned fond from the pan. Boil until reduced nearly by half, check and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep hot and serve with turkey.
This high heat method reliably yields moist flavorful turkey and is remarkable for its simplicity. Brining is not essential, and plain chicken broth can be used for making the pan gravy instead of the giblet stock. Cooking times are short: 3 hours for a 20 pound unstuffed turkey, and an amazing 1 hour and 20 minutes for one of 12 pounds, according to Kafka.
Become familiar with high temperature roasting, and you will enjoy predictable results, simplify holiday cooking and have more time to enjoy this special time of the year with your family.
About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice president of the New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association (www.nhfma.org). His column & recipes appear weekly in The Heart of New England's newsletter... get a free subscription by sending a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.TheHeartofNewEngland.com