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December 2003 Issue
The Christmas Lady's Present
by Rossana S. Tarantini
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All cooking secrets available to you at hand. Purchasing food, good quality recipes, table setting, food timeline etc.
Which brings me to this column. I’m always on the look out for new fool proof turkey methods and I encourage you, my readers to let me in on your best kept, handed down for generations, secret of tasty tender turkey. Send me your recipe (or post it in the form at the bottom of the page) and in return, I’ll post mine below. There’s always something we can learn from one another.

 

Roxx’s Roast Turkey

I usually do a huge bird, over 25 pounds, sometimes as big as 30 pounds or more. LadyDi always makes sure I have one of her biggest turkeys.
  • ½ pound bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 2 large potatoes diced
  • sliced mushrooms to taste -- I usually use an assortment of mushrooms and probably about two pounds all together
  • Butter -- divided
  • 2 handfuls rice -- see below
  • Chicken stock
  • Bread crumbs
  • Seasonings as desired -- salt, pepper, cayenne, etc.
  • 1 large turkey (25-30 lbs.)
I start by sautéing the bacon, removing it with a slotted spoon and then allowing the onion and shallots to soften in the bacon fat. Once they’re done, I remove them as well and brown the potatoes, then the mushrooms.

In the same pan, I’ll melt a good knob of butter and lightly brown a couple of handfuls of rice, then finish the cooking process by slowly adding stock to it until it’s al dente. (This is the classic risotto method of cooking rice and makes it tender crisp.)

I combine all the above in a large bowl and add enough bread crumb to make enough filling for the bird. Season generously, blend it well together and fill the cavity snuggly. Lace up the cavity to protect the stuffing from falling out.

Then I butter my bird generously all over the breast and drumsticks. Season him well with salt, pepper and cayenne. I cover the breast and drumsticks with bacon so that it’s well covered.

Now the bird is ready for his big entrance, into the oven of course. I cut off a double thickness of foil paper to cover each of his legs and wings, to protect them from burning, then I cover the whole bird tightly with foil and place him in a 450 oven and forget about him. Well almost. I usually leave the bird in the 450 oven for three hours, turn the temp down to 400 for another two hours, remove the foil and bacon and let him brown, which usually takes about half an hour longer.

Take him out, make your gravy, and serve him with pride.

  • Yields: Enough to feed an army
 

I look forward to hearing from you with your turkey secrets.

To paraphrase an email I was sent recently . . . “I wish you enough”

Enough . . . to make you joyful
Enough . . . to make you thoughtful
Enough . . . to make you grateful
Enough . . . to make you hopeful
Enough . . . to make you thankful

And “may all your Christmases be white!!!”

TTFN

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