Wednesday, November 21, 2018


One of the more popular posts has been this ode to turkey.
Hence this repeat first posted in November of 2013. 

Fact versus fiction
Did you know that there is quite
a bit of Turkey folklore out there?
I've cooked a few in my day but
not frequently. Feeling a bit rusty,
I decided to study up on America's
favorite fowl. After scouring the
Internet I've found a plethora of
dramatically conflicting advice.
And slowly I've pieced together a
strategy for the big day. Assuming
that some of you share said struggle,
I'm sharing my knowledge with all
of you turkeys out there! Gobble up!
Go ahead, get fresh
All the experts agree on one thing -
GET FRESH. However trying to
find the best fresh turkey in town
may not be easy. In order to secure
a proper piece of poultry one must
plan and order ahead. My choice is
organic and fortunately for the first
time ever here in Lewistown a local
purveyor is selling them. Of course.
you can always buy a frozen one at
your local grocer or hope the butcher
has a hidden stash of fresh fowl. Or
you can get a turkey hunting license!
You dirty bird!
Do NOT, I repeat do NOT wash
your bird. I understand that just
saying that makes all of our dear
grandmothers stir in their graves.
However the truth is there's more
risk of spreading bacteria when
you wash rather than simply pat
down of your favored fowl. Any
bacteria on the bird will be killed
by the heat. Whereas bacteria on
your kitchen towel, sink, or counter
just might kill you. And of course
don't forget to wash your hands!
Smother with love
At this point in our relationship,
I think just about all of you know
that I adore butter, specifically
FRENCH butter. However given
I'm in the outer provinces, I will
have to make do with imported
Irish butter. The first time that I
baked a bird I was taught that you
must season inside and out (salt
and pepper only) then smother it
in BUTTAH. Since then I've learned
to gently mush it between the skin
and meat. MIND THE GAP!
Stuffed and ready for action
In my opinion the best part of the meal
is the "dressing". There are many rumors
about people getting food poisoning
from poultry stuffing. While I'm certain
the same fools who spread that trash
also believe in Sasquatch, it is a vicious
lie! The truth is that as long as you don't
stuff it too tight the dressing will absorb
all of the juices, expand, and absolutely
cook through. The temperature is more
than high enough to kill any bacteria in
the process. So go ahead, fill the void
and enjoy the thrill of "dressing" up!
Thou shalt not sew!
The common formula is fifteen
minutes per pound at 325 degrees.
Lots of folks sew up the orifices.
I simply cover the open end with
a piece of aluminum foil tucked in
around the edges. Not only is my
stuffing moist, it's easy to retrieve.
Experts insist on roasting a turkey
without the cover so leave your
Grannie's pan lid in the basement.
Remember to cover the breast with
a tent of aluminum foil and then
take it off during the final hour.
Liquid refreshment
One favorite tip that I like is roasting
your turkey on a rack in the pan over
a lake of liquid. Just add one to two
cups (depending on the pan size) of
chicken stock and white wine. Pour
just enough to hit our rack's bottom.
I also add some chopped onion and
celery for flavor. This rejuvenating
reservoir keeps your meat moist. In
the final hour of cooking, baste the
skin often. Worth the effort, it makes
it crispy and brown. Just the way this
chef likes his men on the beach!
The pause that refreshes
When it's over it's over. Most important,
do not overcook. Once out of the oven,
you must let your bird sit and rest for
thirty minutes before carving. While some
recommend covering it, others insist you
leave it uncovered. All that I know is that
this rest allows one to have a cocktail as
the turkey's juices redistribute throughout
the meat. Another controversy is removal
of the stuffing. Some advise immediately.
Others prefer post carving to allow excess
juices to flow into the dressing. Whatever