Turkey Dinner – my first…

Turkey Dinner Recipe

So to get things started on this section of the blog, I’m going to share a basic staple – cooking a turkey dinner.  I certainly can’t take the credit for this recipe, although I have added some personal touches, but my mom, Shirley, and mother-in-law, Rose are the experts here (don’t mom’s and mom’s-in-law always make the best meals!).  They both have provided all the turkey dinners over the years; Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter…

So this Christmas I received a great 7kg bird from one of my business associate’s company, and that’s what’s going in the oven today.  Yes, it’s the first turkey ever cooked in our home!

My folks are coming over in an hour, and together with the whole family (Rachael’s home from university this weekend), we’re going to engage in the ritual of playing Ramoli (look it up if you don’t know this card game…) before dinner (after dinner it will be our favourite family game – Texas Holdem’).  So after numerous inquiries, questions, and grilling from me, I’ve extracted the trade secrets from the moms, so the menu today will consist of:

Menu

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes (special whipped with cheese, onion version)
  • Fiddle-heads (the staple from the Williams family)
  • Fresh carrots
  • Brocolli with Cheese (my mom is bringing this dish and the carrots), I will share this recipe another time

Turkey

  • Thaw out frozen turkey 1-2 days in advanced (be sure to keep refrigerated).
  • Rinse out the bird thoroughly in cavities and remove the giblets etc.
  • Use roasting pan, without lid, for cooking the bird.  Place piece of foil on the bottom to prevent any sticking and 1/2 cup of water for initial moisture during searing (initial higher temperature in the oven).
  • Stuff both cavities, hard-packed, with the stuffing (recipe below).
  • Rub the outside of the bird with oil/butter for colour (note, you can add your favourite spices here too – poultry seasoning, Montreal smoked chicken spice, etc.).
  • Add foil so legs, wings etc. don’t burn by touching the sides of the pan.
  • Follow the cooking instructions on the bird’s packaging (typically 375deg for 30 minutes, then 325deg for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.

Stuffing

  • Fry, low heat, 2 tblsp shortening, 1 lg onion (finely chopped), and 4 celery stalks (finely chopped).  I added some salt/pepper here too.
  • Optionally, you chop up the liver and cook it for a minute, and add to the stuffing.
  • 1-1/2 loaves of white bread, chopped (I used 4 x 4 cuts), 2 egg yokes, little milk, beat egg whites and add everything together in a large bowl.
  • Mix together by hand, add salt & pepper (I added some rosemary, thyme, poultry seasoning as well).

Gravy

  • After bird is removed from roasting pan, leave all the drippings in the pan.
  • Add a little cold water and stir up the dripping off the bottom (to loosen them).
  • Add 2-3 cups of potato water (from cooking the potatoes).
  • Place the pan on burner high heat.
  • In a mixing/shaker cup, add 1-1/2 tblsp of flour and fill cup with cold water.  Shake vigorously.
  • Slowly stir in the flour-water mixture.
  • Constantly stir until desired thickness is reached.

Mashed Potatoes

  • After cooking the potatoes, be sure to save the water for the gravy!
  • Mash potatoes, add milk and butter and beat/mash.
  • Add in one container (or brick) of cream cheese, 4 diced green onions, 2 tblsp parsley (fresh or dried), garlic powder (to taste).
  • Mix and serve
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