Recently, I’ve had posts about Brown & Serve Rolls, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Pie. Today, I’ll show you how to make the turkey, stuffing, and gravy from scratch. I usually buy a frozen turkey at least 4 days ahead, and thaw it in the fridge.
On Thanksgiving morning, take the thawed turkey from the fridge, and put it in the sink. Remove all the wrapping. Remove all the parts, ie, neck, giblets, and gravy bag. Be sure to check both ends of the bird. Rinse the bird outside and inside several times. Let drain in the sink.
Now it’s time to make the stuffing. This year I had a 13 pound turkey, and using the recipe below, the stuffing just fit inside the bird. But if you have a larger or smaller bird, you can adjust the recipe accordingly. Stuffing isn’t an exact science, so feel free to change it up.
**Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6 cups bread cubes ( I use a dense bread, either homemade or a french or italian loaf from a bakery.)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 beaten eggs
- 1 stick butter, melted (not margarine)
1/3 cup water
Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes and put into a large mixing bowl. Add chopped onion,
salt and pepper,
Toss with a large spoon until bread is well coated with all ingredients.
Bring the turkey from the sink and place it on a large sheet of freezer paper or aluminum foil. You’re about to make a mess and this will make clean up easier.
Kitty is an avid bird watcher. But she’s doesn’t usually see ones this big, or lying naked on the kitchen table. Here’s one to add to her Lifelist.
Time to stuff the bird.
Cooking the stuffing inside the bird allows it to absorb some lovely turkey flavor and also makes it moist. Spoon the stuffing in and pack gently with your hand. The stuffing will shrink some as it cooks. If you have enough stuffing, pack some in the other end as well. All this was embarrassing for the turkey, so I didn’t get any pics of the actual stuffing process.
We’re almost done so stay with me here. Melt a few tablespoons butter in a bowl in the microwave, and then brush the melted butter over the bird.
Salt and pepper all over the bird to add extra flavor.
Time to get the bird into the oven. Here’s how I always have a moist tender turkey: I use an oven bag. These are wonderful. No basting, no fuss, no dry meat. I use Reynold’s oven bags(not a paid endorsement), and you just prepare the bag according to the instructions on the box, place the bag in a large dish, put the bird in,
close the bag, and seal with the tie included.
Snip a few small vents over the top and sides per the instructions,
and it’s ready for the oven.
Bake per the oven bag instructions. There’s a chart that tells how long to leave the bird in the oven based on the weight. For my 13 pounder it recommended 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When done, remove from the oven, and let stand for a few minutes.
There should be drippings in the bottom of the bag. These can be used to make gravy. Snip a hole at the bottom of the bag. Collect the juice and put into a measuring cup.
Let sit for a while, and then skim off the grease. I had 2 cups drippings.
You can leave the turkey in the bag until ready to serve to keep warm. When ready, just cut the bag open and carefully remove the turkey to a serving platter. I usually leave the turkey in the bag while I make the gravy.
Homemade Gravy Ingredients:
(Chicken broth can be substituted for the drippings. Just make sure you have a total of 4 cups: chicken broth and/or drippings)
2 cups drippings
2 cups chicken broth (about 1 14oz can)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup water
Add drippings and chicken broth to large saucepan.
Measure the flour,
and then add the water to the flour a few tablespoons at a time, stirring vigorously with a fork or whisk. ( I used a spoon here, but a fork or whisk works better)
This prevents lumps. Then add about 10 tablespoons of the drippings a few tablespoons at a time to the flour/water mixture, stirring to mix well.
This brings the flour/water mixture to the same temperature as the drippings and prevents lumps. Then, stir this mixture into the saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. When it reaches a boil, continue to stir while boiling for one minute,
and then remove from heat.
And there you have it folks: Turkey, stuffing, and gravy. Add brown & serve rolls, homemade cranberry sauce, and then have pumpkin and apple pie for dessert. Happy Thanksgiving.
RECIPES and HOW-TOs:
——–> UP NEXT: The History of Thanksgiving: How did it start, when did it become a national holiday, and how did the turkey become the main course?