Ahh, Oven Roasted Turkey! There is nothing that speaks Thanksgiving, holidays, and time with family more. I love walking into the home smelling the strong aroma filling the air. Roasting a turkey doesn’t have to happen just at Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas. I like doing it throughout the year and using the leftovers for several meals. Think Turkey Divan, Turkey Noodle Soup, etc. To help you on your endeavor, here are some step-by-step instructions followed by a recipe so you can make one too!
First I bleached my sink and scrubbed it really well to make sure I can work in a clean environment. I previously thawed my turkey for several days in the refrigerator. It’s okay if it is still a little bit frozen, however, it will be easier to remove the neck and giblets if it is thawed.
Next, I opened up the outer net and bag. There will be juices so it is best to do this in the sink or over a large container.
Once the turkey is out of its bag, open up the plastic connector on the turkey legs. This will allow you to remove the insides.
Pull out the neck and giblets and set them aside. Many people cook them and use them in stuffing and/or in Turkey Noodle Soup. I didn’t feel adventurous today, so I discarded them. Maybe another time.
After you have removed the neck and giblets, you will want to rinse the entire turkey inside and out.
Note the above photo. When my son was helping me he thought he needed to remove this portion of the neck. This is still attached to the spine and won’t pull out. The neck I’m talking about will be obvious and in the cavity of the turkey. Also, you will want to look in the bottom and top of the turkey to clean it out. In our case, the neck was in the bottom and the bag with the giblets was in the top.
After the bird is rinsed, pat it dry and pour olive oil over the top. We didn’t use all that’s pictured in the cup. Probably 1/4 c worth. This creates a nice flavor and also gives a nice color after roasting.
Rub the olive oil all over the surface of the turkey.
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Take some pre-made stuffing (for this dinner I used Stove Top Stuffing, however, homemade is also delicious. Hopefully, at a future date, I will share my mom’s recipe). I like to have “wet” stuffing (baked inside the turkey) as well as “dry” stuffing (made on the stove top and served “as is”).
After stuffing the bird, reattach the plastic clip onto the legs. You do this to keep the stuffing in and the keep the legs held tight while roasting.
This photo (above) shows it fully attached. The turkey is now ready to be placed into the roasting bag. To prepare the bag, I place about 1 T of flour, hold it closed, and shake to coat the inside. I then place several washed stalks of celery along the bottom of the bag to hold the turkey up. I also throw in some carrots and sliced onion for flavor.
Have someone help you slide the prepared turkey into the bag. Place it into a deep pan or roasting pan and secure the plastic tie.
Cut several slits into the top of the roasting bag to allow for venting.
Roast turkey in oven according to package directions and weight. I roasted mine for about 2 1/2 hours at 350 F. It was a 13 lb. stuffed bird.
Remove the turkey from the bag and set aside to start carving. You will probably need help with this step. There will be a lot of juices left at the bottom of the bag as well as the cooked carrots, onion, and celery that you used. I pour all of the juices as well as the vegetables into a blender (I used a Vitamix. You may need to do this in batches.) for a base for the gravy. For this gravy, I used Bistro (a potato-starch based gravy powder from England – really good). My friend is English and always brings some back to the United States when he visits his family. I was lucky enough to receive a box. I added some water to my blended mixture and then added a couple of tablespoons of Bistro. I simmered on low until it had a nice semi-thick consistency. You can salt and pepper the gravy, to taste, if desired. I will give an alternate gravy recipe below as well (my grandma’s recipe).
While the gravy is simmering, whip of some mashed potatoes (I used potato flakes that I had in my food storage (with butter, water, and milk) for a quick meal but LOVE mashed potatoes from scratch. Another post for another day!). Pull the stuffing out of the turkey and place in a bowl. Cover to keep warm. You can mix the dry stuffing with the wet stuffing if you want. I also pre-made a salad to go with the meal as well. Keeping it simple!
So there you have it! Complete instructions on how to make your own Thanksgiving dinner any day of the year!
Here is a condensed version of the recipe:
- 1 whole turkey (size based upon how much you need)
- 3-4 stalks celery
- 4-6 baby carrots
- 1 onion, sliced
- olive oil (around ¼ c or so)
- salt and pepper
- 1 roasting bag
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (or according to package directions on your roasting bag).
- Make stuffing and set aside.
- Remove outer bag from turkey. Open legs and top of turkey and remove the neck and giblets. Set aside to use in soup of stuffing (or discard).
- Rinse turkey in a clean sink inside and out.
- Drizzle olive oil on top and rub all over bird.
- Sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper.
- Place stuffing into the cavity of the turkey (top and bottom, if desired) and close legs back together with plastic clip. Set aside turkey while preparing the roasting bag.
- Open the roasting bag and put in 1 T flour. Close bag and shake vigorously. Place bag in roasting pan. Place celery stalks, carrots, and onion in the bottom of the roasting bag.
- With help, slide the oiled and stuffed turkey into the bag. Secure with the plastic tie.
- Cut several slits into the top to allow for venting.
- Bake according to package directions (mine took 2.5 hours for a 13 lb. turkey).
- Remove from oven, set aside juices for gravy (see recipe below), and slice and serve!
- Juices and cooked carrots, celery and onion from one roasted turkey
- 1-2 c water
- ¼ c flour (or cornstarch)
- 1 T browning bouquet sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Blend juices, vegetables, and flour (or cornstarch or Bistro powder) until you have a smooth consistency.
- Pour into a saucepan.
- Add browning bouquet sauce and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Simmer until you have the desired thickness and consistency. If it is too thin, you can always add more flour (mixed with a little water) or corn starch.