This step-by-step set of instructions is for the novice cook looking to host a turkey dinner. The roasted turkey post is the center piece of our Holiday Dinner (Preparing & Hosting) Blog. Make 10 servings
You may substitute turkey with chicken for your dinner given the similarities of the protein.
Visit our video Holiday Dinner (Preparing & Hosting) on our Murlo Discovery Channel.
Turkey & Preparation
What Size of Bird to Purchase?
A rule of thumb is to estimate how much turkey or chicken to get for your guests (don’t forget to count yourself!): 1 lb per adult and 1/2 lb per child. If you like leftovers like us, then plan on one and one-half pounds per adult and three-quarter pounds per child.
Turkey Preparation & Roasting Instructions
(Key Definitions explained below)
a) 12.5lb (5.7Kg) turkey for 10 adult guests
– See Cooking time recommendation from the Government of Canada for birds with or without stuffing.
– The estimated cooking time for our stuffed turkey is estimated between 3 h 40 min – 4 h 20 min.
– Cooking time will vary greatly depending on the type of oven (regular vs. confection).
b) Thaw turkey. Visit the Government of Canada Poultry Safety Guide for more information.
c) Preheat oven to 350F (177C)
d) Remove any items inside turkey, then rinse under cold water inside and out.
e) Pat dry the turkey skin and inside the cavity.
f) Add pepper/salt to taste inside and outside. We don’t add extra salt especially if you are using salted butter.
g) Apply a thin layer of sage butter under the skin and massage in. This method will help keep the turkey/chicken moist while adding flavour to the meat
h) Place stuffing inside the turkey. Close the end of the bird by tying (Truss) the legs together.
i) Place turkey on a roasting rack and place in the oven when oven temperature is ready.
j) Add half a cup of water & 1 cup of chicken stock to the roasting pan (add water to pan as needed until the bird is ready to rest)
k) Roast at 350F (177C) at the suggested time.
l) Baste bird once every half hour from the juices in the roasting pan
m) The turkey should be ready by the recommended time and when the juices run clear.
n) Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the stuffing is 180F (82C) or 170F (77C) for unstuffed.
o) Remove turkey/Chicken from the oven and let ‘rest’ for 20 minutes.
p) Remove stuffing from the turkey and wrap in tin foil.
Try our Aunt Helen’s Stuffing recipe as a suggestion.
a) We recommend following the Government of Canada Food Safety Guide.
b) We rely on a food thermometer to ensure the correct recommended internal temperature is reached than relying on the ‘red pop-up’ timer embedded in Turkey/chicken.
The Wishbone – Make a Wish!
Remember to save the Wish Bone! Let it dry, find a friend, make a wish and pull apart. The person with the large piece will have their wish granted. That’s what my grandma said and she was never wrong!
a) While the turkey or chicken is roasting, prepare the table, arrange the serving dishes, peel potatoes, and prepare vegetables.
b) Minutes before the turkey or chicken is removed from the oven to rest, start boiling the potatoes and vegetables. Prepare to have the ingredients ready for the gravy and to carve the bird.
13. Leftover Options
a) Turkey, chicken, ham on a bun! Simple. Add meat on a fresh dinner roll. Add butter, mayonnaise, pepper & salt to taste.
b) Turkey/Chicken Wild Rice Soup: The recipe includes making the soup stock and soup
c) Turkey or chicken pie
a) Sage Butter
Combine and mix sage and soften butter together. Murlo uses approximately 1 tsp of Sage and 3 Tbsp of butter
b) Truss or Tie
Tie or truss the turkey with string around the wings and body finishing with the legs where you will joined then together. Basically, trussing means tying poultry (turkey, chicken, or Cornish game hen) into a compact little bundle that ensures you’ll get a beautiful, table-worthy roasted bird that’s evenly cooked.
Basting is a cooking technique that involves cooking meat with either its own juices or some type of preparation such as a sauce or marinade. The meat is left to cook, then periodically coated with the juice usually from the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste your turkey or chicken about every 20 to 30 minutes as it roasts. The exact number of times you end up basting it depends on the size of the bird, and the estimated cooking time. Usually, you will baste it 3 to 4 times.
d) Resting the Turkey
Resting a turkey is absolutely necessary, even for steak and fish, for maximum flavor and juiciness. Keep in mind that during the resting period, the turkey will keep cooking, and the internal temperature will rise by 5 to 10 degrees. Pull it out when the temperature hits 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
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