My first turkey…and gravy

Any time a member of our family cooked a turkey; or bird as we like to call it, it was always draped in a paper bag drenched in butter. The same story would be shared time and time again “When we were kids our grandma, your great-grandmother, would use a paper bag around her bird because there was no tin foil back then or special do-hickies to get the job done. She used what she had available to make dinner for the family”.

I never quite understood the use for it and thought it was gross that we were wrapping the bird in all that butter. This was until I made my very first bird. What a proud day that was. As preparation for the entire family coming to our house this Christmas, Kevin and I decided to do a test run to make sure we were both prepared for the real thing – Christmas day.

I picked up a 26lb turkey at Safeway weeks ago and had been putting off making the thing. It takes up your whole day and is a huge commitment! But Christmas was not going to move dates for my laziness so I took the guy out of the freezer 2 days before cooking it to let it thaw.

Thawing

The trick to thawing; or so my mom says, is:

  1. Let the bird sit in COLD water for 24 hours (be sure to change the water every once in awhile)
  2. After the 24hours are up take the giblets out of the turkey and stuff it from both ends with tea towels
  3. Drape a wet tea towel over the top of the turkey and put it in the fridge for another 24hours
  4. And there you have it… a perfectly defrosted bird!

The morning of

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F
  2. Take your turkey out of the fridge and place on the counter
  3. Stuff with cranberry rice stuffing and place on a roaster
  4. Lather olive oil (you can try coconut – I did and it was fine until it hardened on the turkey)
  5. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning, parsley and salt
  6. Massage the turkey! Make sure it’s covered in olive oil and spices
  7. Cut open a paper bag and measure how much you’ll need to nicely drape the bag over the turkey, leaving enough room so that the bag can be tucked in on both sides
  8. Drench the bag in melted coconut oil and place over the turkey, tucking in at both sides
  9. Insert the thermometer into the side of the turkey and throw him in the oven (gently ofcourse)

Our 26lb bird took 6.5hrs at 325 but cooking time will vary depending on the size of your bird and your oven.

Gravy

Slow and steady wins the race on this one. The portions of potato starch and giblet broth depend on the amount of pan drippings you get.

  1. Remove fat from pan drippings (I used a spoon so I could keep all the nibbly bits in the gravy, but you could get a gravy separator if pieces of turkey in your gravy creeps you out)
  2. Keep drippings in roasting pan, spread between 2 burners. Turn both burners on low heat
  3. Combine 1 tablespoon potato starch and ¼ cup broth and add to drippings, whisking constantly. Continue until you reach your desired consistency.

For a 26lb turkey I ended up using 3 cups of broth and 6 tablespoon of potato starch.

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Paper bag! Haha my mum always cuts a piece of an old cotton sheet to cover the turkey with. We then baste over the cloth. Works a treat for a moist bird + beautiful golden skin. I never really questioned the reason for doing this…. Do you baste over your paper bag?

    • Interesting… I’ve never heard of the cotton sheet trick. Sounds brilliant! I just drench the bag in coconut oil and place some herbs on the top of the bird. No basting at all!

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