Looking for my simple step-by-step guide to making a perfect turkey dinner? Then scroll down now!
As you know, Frigidaire gave me the amazing opportunity to review their new Gallery Double Oven and I have to tell you I’m in love. When I, of course, took to Twitter to tell you just how in love I really am and how excited I am to be able to make turkey, stuffing, and sides all at the same time this thanksgiving so many of you replied with some form of “Turkey? I’m too scared to make turkey.”
According to your replies, some of you don’t like to touch it (but seriously people ground beef and whole chickens would have the same gross factor!) and others were worried about over or undercooking their birds. In the end, so many of you—despite the exact hang-up—were down-right nervous and even scared at the mere thought of making a turkey.
I took that as a personal challenge and armed with my brand-new Frigidaire double oven and just in time for you to build up some confidence before Thanksgiving I am here to prove that if I can make a complete turkey dinner than anyone can. Yes, that includes you too!
I made my first turkey the Thanksgiving of my third year of University in my rental kitchen equipped with an apartment-sized oven. I was clearly a girl full of spunk and that I-can-do-anything attitude but I also had my dad on one phone line and my grandmother on the other.
What I’ve learned, now about six turkeys into my holiday hostessing career is a) it’s better to have my dad or my grandmother actually in my kitchen than many hours (or provinces) away and b) the best turkeys are brined and UN-STUFFED.
That’s right people—stuffing or dressing or whatever you call it needs to be cooked separately from the bird. Who knew?
As for the brine, that’s a fancy word for pre-soak. So don’t let it scare you.
Are you ready? Not yet? How about I tempt you with this picture of a full turkey dinner that you too can create with the simple step-by-step guide and pictures below.
So here we go—step-by-step cooking instructions for turkey brining, basting, roasting and, of course, gravy-ing.
As a bonus I’ve also included my fool-proof totally traditional (nothing fancy here folks!) stuffing recipe, which I was so excited to cook at the EXACT same time as the turkey at TWO completely different temperatures thanks to my Frigidaire double oven.
10-13 lb turkey (fresh or completely defrosted)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 cups apple juice or apple cider
Package of fresh poultry mix seasoning
6 cloves of garlic (peeled but not crushed)
1 large onion sliced into strips
¼ cup butter, softened
Salt and Pepper to taste
24 hours before baking your turkey, unwrap, rinse and discard all the giblet stuff, but save the neck for basting!
In pot big enough to hold your turkey (or the roasting pan which is what I use) stir 1 cup of hot water from the tap with sugar until dissolved.
Add the apple juice and mix well.
Place turkey into pot breast side down.
Add herbs, garlic and onion to pot then add enough cold water from the tap to cover the turkey (or the best you can—I’ve never had a pot big enough to submerge the turkey).
Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, just before roasting, remove turkey from brine and pat dry (do not rinse!). Discard brine.
Place turkey breast-side-up in roasting pan (I use a rack so the turkey won’t stick), if the turkey legs are not pre-tied, tie them together with kitchen string and tuck wings under back.
Massage softened butter all over turkey (this is my Dad’s trick and he calls it the turkey massage).
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast turkey in pre-heated 325F oven for approximately 3 ½ to 4 hours using roasting instructions below and basting every 30-45 minutes (with basting liquid—see recipe below). When meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 185F, remove from oven, transfer to serving platter, tent with foil and let stand for 15-20 minutes prior to carving (just enough time to make the perfect gravy recipe below).
PERFECT ROASTING INSTRUCTIONS: I roast for the first hour without the lid, then cover the turkey for the next 2 to 2 ½ hours and finally uncover for the last ½ hour of roasting. When uncovering the turkey for the last ½ hour you may need to cover the drumsticks with tin foil (shiny side down) to prevent browning/drying out (at least that’s what my Grandma tells me).
Neck from Turkey
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup white wine
1 rib celery, sliced
½ tsp. dried poultry seasoning
Add all ingredients to sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer.
Use to baste turkey until finished (usually 3 bastings) then add neck to roasting pan and use juices from in pan for remaining basting.
Juices/fat from roasting pan
¼ all purpose flour
1 ½ cups chicken broth
After removing turkey from pan and tenting, place roasting pan vertically over two burners on stove-top.
Skim off majority of fat from surface of the liquid (leave approx 2-3 Tbsp).
Turn both burners on to medium heat and cook for 1 minute scarping brown bits from bottom of pan.
Sprinkle with flour and continue to cook stirring constantly for approximately 2 minutes.
Whisk in broth and bring to a boil continuing to stir.
Reduce heat and simmer until thickened (approximately 3 minutes).
Strain if desired (I don’t—by this point there are already enough dishes) and serve with turkey.
12 cups/2 loaves of bread (I use my Four-Ingredient No Knead Bread—one white and one whole wheat)
½ cup butter
1 Spanish or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced celery
1 tsp. dried poultry seasoning
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup white wine
Slice bread and toast on baking sheet in 350F oven approximately 10 minutes (turning half way).
Allow to cool, slice into cubes and place in large bowl.
In sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter then add onion, celery, garlic and poultry seasoning and cook until vegetables are softened (approx. 15 minutes).
Add vegetables to bread and toss to combine. Pour chicken stock and wine over bread and vegetables.
Transfer to greased 13 x 9 baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 400F for 30 minutes, uncover and continue baking an additional 10-15 minutes until top is browned.
PS: Remember how excited I was to be able to bake desserts and turkey at the same time and not have to worry about the dreaded taste transfer? Well while the turkey, stuffing and everything else was happening I also baked chocolate cupcakes and mixed up some party popcorn to top the cupcakes for my daughter's birthday class treat and guess what—STILL no taste transfer!
Turkey brine and gravy have been adapted and Canned-Soup-Mom-ified from Canadian Living, October 2011.