Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Frozen Turkey in a Bag

You may think me mad, but I have made my frozen turkey in a bag for over 25 years.  While everyone else is slaving over an oven, I'm still in bed and not worrying about my Thanksgiving turkey.  The process of unthawing a turkey and basting it for hours is not the only way to go.  I don't even know where I got the idea any more, but it has worked for me.  You might want to try this and break all the rules.

I used to have well over 20 to 25 people for Thanksgiving each year so needed a very large bird so I could have left overs.  I would look for a 25 pound turkey (getting very hard to find) which normally meant you had to have room in your refrigerator to unthaw a bird for days and then had to get up very early in the morning to start it so it would be done for a noon meal.  There is no brining to make it moist because the bag keeps it moist.  Now I ask the grocery store for a paper bag when I buy the turkey and the night before Thanksgiving, before I go to bed, I take my frozen turkey, rub it with salt and pepper and put it in the bag, sealing the bag by making sure the bag is tucked under the turkey and air tight.  I put it in the oven at 250 degrees F. to cook it low and slow and go to bed (around 10 or 11 PM).  I wake to the smell of turkey.  The bag soaks up the juices and bastes the turkey and it becomes golden brown with me doing nothing else to it.  How long it needs to cook depends on the size of the turkey.  It usually is golden brown before noon and so tender it is falling off the bone.

Since it was frozen, I had to leave the gizzard and liver in the turkey.  Who ever carves the turkey gets to eat them.  We fight over who gets them.

With rules now saying you can't stuff a bird, using a baster I take juices from the pan (there is an awful lot of it) and use it for gravy and for the stuffing.  I save any that is left over because it is wonderful demi glace for turkey left overs.

My gravy is about 2 cups of demi glace and 4 cups of potato water.  We make a huge pan of boiled potatoes for mashed potatoes and do not let the flavor or nutrients from the potatoes go to waste.  Taste and see if it needs salt or pepper and season.  Thicken it with a slurry of corn starch.

Try a turkey-in-a-bag and see if you don't get a golden, crispy skinned bird that is as moist as can be using a paper bag. It is so super simple anyone can do it.  Make sure the shelf in the oven is set as low as possible in the oven to allow for hot air flow around the bird. Also make sure the breast side is up when putting it in the bag.  For easy clean up, I buy one of those throw away aluminum pans with the deep grooves in the bottom. For food safety, the internal temperature of the turkey should be at 165° F. when you take it out of the oven.

Oh I can smell the turkey now.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.

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