• May 21, 2018, 09:44:51 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!  (Read 5001 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Member
  • Posts: 2344
What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« on: December 19, 2006, 10:56:51 AM »
We came home from a night at my husband's sister's house (where we all sang Christmas Carols around the piano,) to find presents and a bag of food on our door. In the bag of food was a turkey.

Help! I have no idea what to do with this thing. I've been a vegetarian for 14 years, and while I've cooked the occasional chicken breast or hamburger for my family, I've never done a whole turkey. My husband put it in the fridge last night when we got home. How long can it stay there till it's thawed? How should I cook it? Anyone have any delicious no-fail recipes that they want to share? Ones that don't need the cook to taste them... ;) (Although I'm sure my husband will be more than happy to do that part for me.)


  • Member
  • Posts: 15850
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2006, 11:22:30 AM »
About the only thing I can help you with is the thawing part.  In the refrigerator, it'll take about 4 days to thaw completely.  You could probably use it after thawing for only 3 days, but you might have to give it a soak in cool salted water for an hour or so before hand.


  • Guest
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2006, 12:58:41 PM »
This is the recipe I use to roast a turkey.  I always cook a smallish (11-13lb) bird.  It's simple and it makes a nice juicy bird.  People say soaking the turkey in brine will make a juicier bird but I've never done it so I can't say.  I never stuff my turkey either so if you do that it will need to cook a bit longer.  I'm also adding some tips on carving that I used this year. 

Herb Roasted Turkey
1 (12 pound) whole turkey
3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 can Roasted Garlic Chicken Broth
1 cups water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Take the giblets out of the turkey and rinse it with water.  Place in a roasting pan - breast side up.  (I feed the giblets to the dog, you may want to cook them for the gravy but I can't help with that)

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic powder, dried basil, ground sage, salt, and black pepper. Using a basting brush, apply the mixture to the outside of the uncooked turkey. Pour chicken broth and water into the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover.  My roasting pan doesn't have a lid so I just use aluminum foil.   

Bake for 2 hrs, remove the foil to allow the bird to get a nice golden brown, brush with the herb oil mixure again, bake another 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh measures 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove bird from oven, and allow to stand for about 30 minutes before carving.

Carving a Turkey
By:   Allrecipes Staff
While nothing is as impressive as a beautiful, bronzed turkey on the holiday buffet, it's much easier to carve the bird in the kitchen than at the table. These easy-to-follow steps take that turkey from centerpiece perfection to neat slices on your serving platter.

Sit Tight
Once the bird is removed from the oven, it should stand for 20 to 35 minutes, depending on its size. This gives the proteins time to relax and allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird, resulting in succulent slices of meat. Before you begin carving, have a warm serving platter ready.

Legs First
Arrange the turkey, breast side up, on a cutting board. Steady the turkey with a carving fork. Using a sharp knife, slice through the meat between the breast and the leg. Next, using a large knife as an aid, press the thigh outward to find the hip joint. Slice down through the joint and remove the leg. Cut between the thigh bone and drumstick bone to divide the leg into one thigh piece and one drumstick. To carve the drumstick, steady it with a carving fork and cut a thick slice of meat from one side, along the bone. Next, turn the drumstick over so that the cut side faces down. Cut off another thick slice of meat. Repeat, turning the drumstick onto a flat side and cutting off meat, carving a total of four thick slices. To slice the thigh, place it flat side down on a cutting board. Steady the thigh with a carving fork. With a knife, cut parallel to the bone and slice off the meat. Be sure to place all the cuts on the warmed serving platter as you work.

Wings Take Off
Before you carve the breast, the wings must be removed. Slice diagonally down through the edge of the breast toward the wing. Using a knife as an aid, press the wing out to find the shoulder joint; cut through the joint and remove the wing. Place the wing on the serving platter as is.

Carve the Breast
To carve the breast meat, hold the back of the carving fork against the breastbone. Starting parallel to the breastbone, slice diagonally through the meat. Lift off each slice, holding it between the knife and fork, and layer them on the warm serving platter. Continue until you have carved all the meat on one side of the breast. Carve the other side of breast in the same fashion. And let the feasting begin!


  • Member
  • Posts: 839
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2006, 01:07:37 PM »
Oh Thank you for your recipe!!  This is my first year doing turkey dinner- and first ever turkey I've cooked.  I've been avoiding getting a recipe because I'm worried.  My turkey is 12 lbs too, so it works!

My only question, you briefly mentioned stuffing and I don't want to poisin any of my family, but I LOVE stuffing in the bird.  You mentioned cook it longer, how much longer do you cook a turkey with stuffing?

I have a meat thermometer and I've heard that you make sure that the stuffing is the same temperature as the turkey (when the turkey is considered "done"- cannot remember off hand the degrees.)

Tricia- let us know how you did!


  • Member
  • Posts: 17105
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2006, 04:48:58 PM »
If you allow the bird to sit too long before carving you will need to nuke the slices to insure that it's served hot.  In my opinion there is nothing worse than food served cold that should be hot.

As for stuffing, the one thing to remember is to remove it from the cavity of the bird as soon as you take the bird out of the oven.  I think most turkeys have instructions as to how much oven time to add if you stuff it.

I don't remember because it's been far too long since I did this myself.


  • Guest
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 05:34:38 PM »
You mentioned cook it longer, how much longer do you cook a turkey with stuffing?

I'm not really sure but when I need tips on cooking turkeys I go to Butterball's website.  They have a lot of really good information.  I have to go there every year to double check how long I cook my turkey. 

Are you doing gravy?  I got a lot of good tips from other Ehell posters before Thanksgiving that I saved, do you want them? 


  • I live in the real world. I play in the Middle Ages.
  • Member
  • Posts: 8639
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 06:47:43 PM »
I don't know why everybody cooks a bird breast up.  All the juice from the breast just runs down into the back.

Last time I cooked a bird I put it into a roasting bag breast down with some orange juice for the liquid and some cut up celery,onions, and apples inside (instead of stuffing)

Tucked it into the oven and ignored it.

When we took it out of the oven and slit the cooking bag the bird litterly fell off of the bones. We joked that we didn't need a carving knife but a carving spoon.
Reality is for people who lack Imagination


  • Member
  • Posts: 9273
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2006, 10:25:12 PM »

It's important with stuffing not to stuff the bird too tight - it should still be a bit loose in the cavity. You can also stuff the neck flap.  Also, if it's a stuffing that requires cooking, cook the day before and put into the turkey cold, not warm. You want to minimize the time the turkey spends luke warm (room to body temperature) as that's when the things that cause food poisoning multiply the best.

My family loves stuffing.  We always make lots, and wrap the extra in foil (you can sprinkle it with a bit of pan drippings to moisten it) and shove it in the oven for the last half hour or so. If you're worried about cooking it in the turkey you can do it all that way.   I do a dead simple stuffing - cube day old bread into roughly 3/4 inch cubes (it's hard to slice really fresh bread and it goes mushy).  Dice celery and onions and saute in a big pot in some olive oil.  Season with sage, salt and pepper. Add the bread and toss to coat with the vegetable mixture - mix thoroughly.  Cool and stuff. 

For gravy: 

After you take the turkey out of the oven it needs to sit for about 15 minutes before carving.  While it's waiting, draing the pan juices into a pot.  Let sit for a minute or two and skim the fat off of the top with a spoon.  Heat it to a simmer.  Mix a couple of tablespoons of flour with about 1/2 cup water - make sure there's no lumps.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the bubbling drippings until it thickens to a good gravy texture.

You can also take the gibblets (the bit of turkey innards often packaged inside the cavity) and simmer in water with an optional bay leaf or bit of onion.  This juice can be added to the pan juices to extend the gravy.  My family loves gravy too, so we want lots of that as well.

For turkey soup:

Put the turkey back in the fridge farily quickly.  The next day you can carve off all the remaining meat - it freezes well for using later.  Take the carcass plus all the the remaining big of crunch stuff and fat from the pan and bit of skin (which doesn't reheat well).  Put in a really big pot with a chopped onion, a couple of celery sticks and a carrot, chopped, a bay leaf and a few pepper corns.  Cover with cold water, turn the heat onto medium low and heat slowly - it should take about 45 minutes to come to a simmer.  Simmer for about 3-4 hours.  Strain and put in the fridge overnight - throw away the cooked bones and vegetables. Skim the fat off the surface, and you have some amazingly good turkey soup stock. It freezes well, or cook up with onions, celery, carrots, green beans etc, plus some of the leftover turkey, diced, and some noodles. 


  • Member
  • Posts: 1711
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2006, 12:28:57 AM »
If the turkey hasn't been injected with brine, it'll be much jucier if you brine the bird first.  It's also easier to cook a small (<15 lb) bird than a larger one...

The recipe my family likes best is the Cook's Illustrated Roast Crisp-skin
turkey here: --
you'll have to register to get access to the full recipe, but it's quite thorough and easy to follow, and the cooking time is relatively short, less than 2 hrs for a 14 lb bird.  I've not gotten spam from them.  The recipe calls for a
V-rack, which I don't have (I hate kitchen gadgets) -- the idea is to keep the
turkey off the bottom of the pan during roasting, and a "deck" of whole
carrots does a good, cheap job of V-rack replacement here.

If you want dressing in the turkey, their method of partially cooking the stuffing in the microwave is a good one for bacteriological safety.

You can brine the turkey in an ice chest or bucket in a cold garage if you don't have sufficient refrigerator space.  Toss a couple of ice cubes in the
brine for a tell-tale...


  • Member
  • Posts: 2344
Re: What to do with this turkey? Please help the vegetarian!
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2006, 03:14:54 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for your help. My husband is preparing the bird as we speak type.