About Me:Cooking, eating, entertaining, having a good time… it’s why I collect recipes and share them. Plus I’m half Hungarian- that explains alot.
Make a Traditional Stuffed Roast Turkey With All The Trimmings
You may love ham, or roast chicken, or goose for your holiday dinner, but there is something wonderful and satisfying about the traditional Roast Turkey Dinner that makes it a favorite and traditional repast for the winter holidays.
For one thing, a whole roasted turkey can feed a crowd, and for another it is versatile in how it is served.
But it is not just about the meat… the entire meal is full of comfort and good memories, it is what we like to call “the trimmings”. For some that is cornbread, either as a bread or making the dressing. The stuffing, or dressing is all important.
There might be a side of cranberries in some way. I like relish, for some it is a jelly, for others cranberries might be included some other ingenious way. And Pies, plural! Pumpkin, Apple, and others traditionally round out a calorie packed meal.
The Best Turkey Roasting Gear
The best thing in many of American minds might be the many ways we use the leftovers from our Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy! Or as the French may say “bon appetit“.
I hope you will love the tips and my family recipes for your own great holiday roast turkey meal.
- The main thing for a moist turkeyis to roast slowly and keep those juice sealed in.
- Covered pans, injected marinade or butter, roasting bags, all are ways to serve that one single purpose.
- The most important thing is to cook thoroughly, and that is why a thermometer is handy.
How to Keep it Moist, Keep it Flavorful
- remove the neck and giblets from the inside of the turkey!
- baste the roasting turkey often
- make small slices in the skin and insert butter
- rub the entire carcass with oil or butter
- salt the inner carcass before stuffing
- insert the stuffing loosely, but fill the inside, don’t forget the flap under the tail
- tent the turkey with foil or cover
What is Basting?
Using broth or meat juices to bathe the cooking roast. A baster or pastry brush is used to distribute the liquids over the meat.
How do you brine?
Mix brine made of stock, salt, sugar, and desired flavorings. Use turkey size oven roasting bag, place turkey and brine inside, and marinate in the refrigerator. Rinse,pat dry, and roast on cooking day. Full directions,recipe, and illustrations, here.
What is Poultry Seasoning?
A combination of ground spices that enhance poultry dishes, usually sage, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and some other spices.
You can buy it in a jar, or you can make your own, or buy it from Amazon. Almost every grocery sells it with the other spices. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends Poultry Magic
Time Required to Thaw a Turkey Inside a Refrigerator
8 to 12 lbs. …. 2 to 3 Days
13 to 16 lbs. …. 3 to 4 Days
17 to 20 lbs. …. 4 to 5 Days
21 to 24 lbs. …. 5 to 6 Days
Weight of Bird
Roasting Time (Unstuffed)
Roasting Time (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds
3 to 3-1/2 hours
3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds
3-1/2 to 4 hours
4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds
4 to 4-1/2 hours
5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds
4-1/2 to 5 hours
5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours
Buy a USDA-approved Grade-A turkey. Young turkeys, from 4 to 7 months old, are most tender..
My poultry choices are bolded, but you may want to choose one of the other modes of dressed poultry.
Choices for turkeys to roast are:
- fresh or frozen
- basted or un-basted
- organic, natural, free-range, minimally processed, or kosher
- un-stuffed or pre-stuffed
- tom turkey or hen turkey
When feeding a large group (like when everyone and extra guests come to my house) I purchase a large Tom turkey.
Today I usually buy a hen turkey of about 12-14 pounds.
Simple Roast Turkey
- 1 14 lbs Hen Turkey
- 1 48 oz large can chicken broth
- 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to rub inside and outside the turkey
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- Thaw turkey if necessary.
- Rinse, inside and out, and then pat dry. salt inside and rub out side with salt.
- Gently separate the skin from the meat in several places on the breast and towards the back (tailend) of the turkey and along the legs. Insert butter or oil. Try to not tear skin. I cut very small slits in the skin and insert lumps of butter; some people rub melted butter or oil under the loosened skin.
- Rub outside of bird with poultry spices and salt and pepper.
- Fill with stuffing.
- Put turkey uncovered in a hot ,475° F, oven for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300-325° F, add broth to the turkey and pan.Then baste, and cover the turkey for its long roast. Baste often by lifting cover and using baster to squeeze the cooking juices over the roasting turkey
- Roast for number of hours recommended for your size turkey and whether or not it has stuffing.
- When skin is crisp and brown, and turkey meat thoroughly cooked (only thermometer can be precisely accurate, but if the leg is loose when wiggled that plus time cooked at the proper temperature can be indications)
- Cooking without stuffing may mean you can use lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.
Keep Your Turkey Moist
Whether you brine or baste, tent, or wrap in parchment, the point is to keep the turkey meat moist.
Turkey Dressing - Stuff the Turkey
- 1 to 2 packages bread stuffing - enough for the size bird you are roasting
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- salt and papper
- chicken broth
- 2 hardboiled eggs -chopped
- 2 T. fresh parsley chopped
- optional chopped pecans
- 3 carrots chopped fine
- 3 ribs of celery chopped fine
- 1 large onion chopped fine
- 1 stick butter melted
- In a very large mixing bowl, add bread cubes, and all chopped vegetables, plus any added optional ingredients like the nuts or chopped fruits, like apple or apricot, etc.
- Add moistening ingredients: broth and melted butter and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate if not immediately cooking.
- Right before stuffing turkey or cooking, add chopped eggs, any additions like sausage or oysters, etc.
- Cook in oven or stovestop and keep warm or refrigerate any leftover dressing promptly. It should be kept hot or cold, never room temperature.
Seared Green Beans
My favorite way to serve green beans is to get fancy whole beans in the frozen section, cook them until just done (never overcook!), then douse them with a good Italian flavored dressing like Wishbone or House Italian. Sprinkle with blanched almonds if you want a bit of window dressing.
For those who wish something more je ne sais pas, try this recipe from the folks at NPR.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
- 1 pound trimmed whole green beans
- 1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic
- Red pepper flakes
- Place a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat. After about two minutes, add the oil, and swirl to coat the pan.
- Turn the heat to high, and wait another 30 seconds or so, then add the green beans and a big pinch of salt.
- Cook over high heat, shaking the pan and/or using tongs to turn and move the beans so they cook quickly and evenly.
- After about 3 minutes, take a taste test and see if the beans are done to your liking. They should be relatively crunchy, but you get to decide. If you like them cooked a little more, keep going until they’re your kind of tender.
- Sprinkle in the garlic and some red pepper flakes, and cook for just a minute longer. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Sweet Potato Casserole
- 8 large sweet potatoes or yams
- 1 stick butter -half pound
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup concentrated orange juice
- salt to taste
- optional marshmallows for topping
- First bake your sweet potatoes and then remove their jackets.
- Add butter to hot potatoes and it will melt as you mash them slightly.
- Add the milk, orange juice concentrate, and salt to taste (try 1⁄2 tsp. sea salt)
- Mash together and turn into baking dish (or large dutch oven for stovetop). Cook until flavors meld and heated through. 15 to 20 minutes.
- Top with marshmallows, if desired. In very hot oven or under broiler, melt and toast marshmallow topping. Serve.
Fresh Cranberry Relish
- Traditional Turkey Trimming Side Dish
- 16 oz. fresh cranberries
- 3 -4 'Honey Crisp' or dessert apples
- 3 -4 Seedless Navel oranges or oranges with seeds removed
- handful optional coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar to taste (approximately)
- Pick over cranberries discarding bruised or old berries.
- Cut up washed apples to size for sending through meat grinder. Peel and section oranges.
- Using meat grinder ( my preference) or food processor with coarse attachment, mince the cranberries, apples and oranges and combine in large bowl.
- Add sugar to taste, add optional walnuts.
- Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate until serving.
- Serve in a glass bowl to show off the beautiful color. Served with the turkey and dressing entree.
Additional Trimmings for the Menu – Sides for a Roast Turkey
Maybe you like these, or they might be something I always include- more ideas to create a scrumptious Thanksgiving menu.
Homemade Pumpkin Dessert - Bourbon Pumpkin Tart with Walnut Streusel
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange peel grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup cold butter - cubed
- 1 egg -lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 15 ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cold butter-cubed
- 3/4 cup walnuts -toasted coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger chopped
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, orange peel and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add egg. Gradually add cream, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until easy to handle
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into a 13-in. circle. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 11-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
- In a large bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Pour into crust. For topping, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts and ginger. Sprinkle over filling
- Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.
The Side Menu
- I enjoy a simple (ok,slightly dressed up) green salad
- Corn bread muffins
- Corn Pudding
- White potatoes. Some people can’t imagine their meal without them.
- Wild rice and mushrooms, goes great with the roast turkey. Can be substituted for bread dressing.
The Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook
How To Roast A Thanksgiving Turkey – Easy directions for great results
Utensils You May Need
Use Thermometer Gauges, and a Baster
Roasted meats should be cooked thoroughly. This is important for health reasons, keeping the meat moist and not overcooked, for taste and enjoyment.
Large baster helps keep your roast meat moist. Handy cleaning tools to make sure it is ready for the next use.
Good old fashioned roaster is simple, economical, and easy to clean. Useful for Thanksgiving turkeys or for family size casseroles.