Turns out the safest way to cook turkey is also the way I enjoy preparing (and eating) turkey most – from a bird that has been roasted unstuffed. Unstuffed turkeys tend to cook more evenly and quickly than stuffed turkeys, and the empty cavities can be filled with ingredients, such as pieces of onion, celery stalks and fresh herbs – many of which are still going strong in late autumn gardens – that will flavor pan drippings for making gravy.
When you look to purchase your turkey, either, fresh or frozen, allow about a pound and a half per person, which will give you ample turkey for dinner, plus leftovers. And, if you are expecting a large crowd for dinner, consider making two smaller size turkeys. Not only will you double the amount of wings and drumsticks, but your birds will fit better in your oven and cook more evenly. When purchasing a frozen turkey, be sure to look over the instructions on the packaging so that you give yourself enough time for the turkey to thaw. (Your turkey will need approximately 24 hours of thaw time in the refrigerator for every four pounds of weight.) Once the turkey is thawed, remove the wrappings, make note of the weight of your turkey and proceed with the instructions that follow. Thanksgiving is coming, and if you’re looking for ways to make this year’s turkey your best ever, these pointers, plus the ones located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Let’s Talk Turkey website at www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Lets_Talk_Turkey.pdf, will get you there.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.