Thanksgiving Recipes

A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey

Simple, perfect roast turkey just like grandma used to make. Seasoned with salt and pepper, and basted with turkey stock, the flavors of the turkey really stand out. Stuff with your favorite dressing.

Prep Time: approx. 30 Minutes.
Cook Time: approx. 4 Hours .
Ready in: approx. 4 Hours 30 Minutes.
Makes 24 servings.

1 (18 pound) whole turkey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
1 1/2 quarts turkey stock
8 cups prepared stuffing

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.

Remove the turkey neck and giblets, rinse the turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Position an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.

Place turkey in the oven, and pour 2 cups turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add stock to moisten them, about 1 to 2 cups at a time. Remove aluminum foil after 2 1/2 hours. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F, about 4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving.


Tangerine-Glazed Turkey

Garnish with fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. The turkey is stuffed with Sausage Apple and Dried Cranberry Stuffing.

Prep Time: approx. 45 Minutes.
Cook Time: approx. 3 Hours 30 Minutes.
Ready in: approx. 4 Hours 15 Minutes.
Makes 1 (10 pound) turkey
   (13 servings).

3/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups tangerine juice
1 (10 pound) whole turkey,
   neck and giblets reserved
2 1/4 cups Sausage, Apple and Dried Cranberry Stuffing
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/4 cups turkey stock
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. Melt 6 tablespoons butter with canola oil and tangerine juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and allow to cool about 5 minutes. Soak a piece of cheesecloth large enough to drape over the turkey in the mixture.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Clean turkey, and season body cavity with salt and pepper. Loosely pack the neck cavity and body cavity with stuffing. Tie drumsticks together, spread 6 tablespoons butter over the turkey, and season with salt and pepper. Place turkey in a shallow roasting pan.

3. Roast turkey for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, and then arrange soaked cheesecloth over turkey. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Continue roasting 1 hour. Leaving the cheesecloth draped over the turkey, baste with the tangerine juice mixture. Continue roasting about 2 hours, basting occasionally, until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F and the stuffing inside the body cavity reaches 165 degrees F. Discard cheesecloth, and place turkey on a serving platter. Allow turkey to cool about 25 minutes before carving.

4. Skim fat from pan juices, and reserve 1/4 cup fat and skimmed pan juices. In the baking pan, mix pan juices with 1 cup turkey stock; cook over high heat, stirring to scrape the bottom of the pan.

5. In a saucepan over low heat, whisk together reserved 1/4 cup fat and flour until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in pan juices and remaining turkey stock, and add neck and giblets. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until giblets are cooked through. Strain through a sieve, and serve with the turkey and stuffing.

Turkey Giblet Stock can be substituted for turkey stock to intensify the tangerine flavor of the gravy.


Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

This Thanksgiving stuffing is fantastic! It is very flavorful and fresh-tasting. This recipe will stuff a 10-pound turkey (which serves six) plus extra. Other dried fruits may also be used in place of cranberries.

Prep Time: approx. 15 Minutes.
Cook Time: approx. 25 Minutes.
Ready in: approx. 1 Hour 40 Minutes.
Makes 10 servings. 

1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted
   butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.

Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.


Turkey Giblet Stock

This recipe is used to make Tangerine-Glazed Turkey with Sausage, Apple & Dried Cranberry Stuffing. To make life easy on Thanksgiving Day, prepare this stock in advance. (Note: This stock can be made up to two days in advance. Allow stock to cool completely, uncovered. Keep chilled in an airtight container, in refrigerator, until ready to use).

Makes 3 +cups (1 serving)

1 neck, giblets, and liver from a turkey
6 cups water
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, quartered
2 tangerines, zested
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1. In a large saucepan, combine the neck and giblets (excluding the liver), 6 cups water, celery, carrot, onion, tangerine rind, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and continue to cook at a simmer, skimming the froth occasionally for 1 hour. Add liver and continue to cook at a bare simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl. Reserve the liver for Sausage, Apple & Dried Cranberry Stuffing. Reserve the neck and remaining giblets for the gravy. There should be about 3 cups of stock. If there is more, simmer the stock until it is reduced to about 3 cups; if there is less, add enough water to measure about 3 cups.


Turkey Roasting Tips

The secret ingredient is your time and lots of it. Buying, preparing, and roasting a turkey are time-consuming. With careful preparation and attention to timing, you will be rewarded with a beautiful and tasty main course. Your first decision will be selecting between a frozen or fresh turkey. A fresh bird is more expensive, but will save you time and precious refrigerator space.

Buy the bird the day before you wish to roast it, but remember to reserve your turkey with the butcher. What a catastrophe to find that the only turkey left for your intimate four-person dinner is a 26-pound glacial beast! A frozen turkey needs to be defrosted. The preferred method is to defrost it in the refrigerator. (Yes, the one filled with the rest of the holiday fare.) Allow one day per 5 pounds.

A 15-pound turkey will require three days to defrost thoroughly. An alternate method is to defrost the bird in a cold water bath. Allow 30 minutes per pound. That 15-pound turkey will require only 7 1/2 hours to defrost using this approach. It is also possible to use a combination of these methods. Now you are ready to prepare the turkey for roasting.

First remove the giblets. This is a fundamental step not only because you might want to use them to make the gravy, but also because it is disconcerting to find these paper-wrapped lumps when carving.

Next, rinse the bird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. If you are stuffing the bird, do so now with a freshly prepared dressing. Stuff loosely, allowing about 1/2 to 3/4 cup per pound of bird. Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tuck the drumsticks under the folds of skin or tie together with string.

Lastly, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone. Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree Foven. Use the following chart to estimate the time required for baking.

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
15 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

Bake until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but will promote even browning. The best test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, and when the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing. The stuffing should be 165 degrees F.

When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Roast Turkey Recipes

Happy Cooking,
The Staff at Allrecipes