Grandpa K’s Turkey, Stuffing, and Gravy Recipe

I originally posted this on 22 November 2006, and I have the original, typed, hardcopy provided by my grandfather, but I like to re-post it from time to time. Therefore, I present this again, in case anyone needs it, and because (American) Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.

Turkey, Stuffing and Gravy Recipe
by Edward F. Klindienst

INGREDIENTS

  • Turkey and giblets
  • 1/2 to 1 lb. bacon (sliced)
  • 8 medium or 6 large onions
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 8 apples
  • 2 oranges or tangerines
  • 1 loaf stuffing bread (unflavored, pullman size)
  • Salt, pepper, and pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional: Cider or wine for stuffing

UTENSILS

  • Roasting pan (large turkey size)
  • Rack to fit inside pan
  • Aluminum foil (wide)
  • Collander
  • Basting syringe
  • Stock pot, 2qt or larger
  • Large pot (optional, about 6qt)
  • Frying pan with fitted lid
  • Steel skewers (4 inch) [Turkey lacing kit]
  • Knives, peeler, etc.
  • PROCEDURE
    Note: The following procedure, and the list of ingredients are the basic recipe. After you have tried it once or twice, try some modifications – change the flavoring, adjust the quantities, add things like mushrooms, raisins, a dash of garlic, let your palate be your guide…enjoy it.
  • STUFFING MIX
    • Bacon: Lay bacon on cutting board and cut across the slices in 1/4 inch strips. Fry the bacon in covered fry pan over low heat.
    • Onions: Peel and chop all but two of the onions. Place chopped onions in fry pan with bacon. Keep covered. Place remaining two onions in stock pot.
    • Celery: Cut the butt off the celery and place butt in stock pot. Separate and wash the stalks, save the tender heart for the table, chop remainder and add to fry pan. Put leaves and trimmings of celery in stock pot.
    • Apples: Peel and core apples. Add peels and cores to stock pot. Slice apples into fry pan and cover.
    • Flavoring: Add two level teaspoons salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (or less, according to taste) and two generous teaspoons pumpkin pie spice to fry pan, stir well, cover and let simmer till apples reach consistency of apple sauce.

    Note: The less lifting of the fry pan lid, the juicier the stuffing mix.
  • THE BIRD
    • Remove neck and giblets from cavity.
    • Remove skin from neck. Discard skin. Add neck to stock pot.
    • Remove fat from heart and gizzard. Place heart, tail (if present) and gizzard in stock pot.
    • Do not add liver to stock pot, either discard it, or cook it and feed it to the dog (or cat).
    • Wash the beast in cold water, inside and out, both cavities. Remove all inedible items, if any. Remove any pin feathers left in the skin. Set the bird aside, let it thaw.
  • THE STOCK POT
    • Cover the contents of the stock pot with water and place over high heat till it boils, then reduce to medium or lower heat (just enough to sustain slow boiling).
    • Add remaining onions while waiting for the boil.
    • Cut oranges or tangerines in halves, squeeze juice into stock pot, and drop in the rest.
    • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt./li>
    • Add water as necessary to keep contents covered.
    • Cook till meat is loose on neck bones. When cooked, lift out meat (neck, heart, gizzard, and tail) set aside for “picking.”
    • Strain contents of stock pot through collander, pressing out all fluid. Save fluid for basting, discard pulp.


Note: Experimentation with flavoring at this point also pays dividends.
The basting fluids become the gravy.

  • BREAD
    • Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes, including crust.
    • Place in roasting pan and bake in hot oven till dry and slightly brown, stirring occasionally. (A bag of unflavored croutons can be substituted for the bread.)
    • When bread is ready, pour into large pot, and add contents of fry pan. Mix thoroughly. If too dry, add fluid from stock pot, or a cup of cider, or after some experience, a cup of wine. (Caution is recommended with the wine, but the results are worth the trouble sometimes.) [MissMeliss says: I recommend the cider, actually, but if you do use wine, I’ve had great results with gamay beaujolais.)]
    • Any stuffing left over after bird is stuffed (both cavities) can be baked in a pie pan [MissMeliss says: We make extra on purpose.], etc. When both cavities are filled, close with skewers, and lace with clean string.
  • ROASTING PAN AND FOIL
    • Use two long pieces of foil (long enough to wrap over the turkey and the supporting rack).
    • Lay one piece across the pan lengthwise and press into bottom of pan.
    • Lay second piece crosswise and press down.
    • Place rack inside the foil. Place bird on rack.
    • Pour one cup of basting fluid from stock pot over bird. Wrap foil over top of bird, completely covering bird.
    • [MissMeliss says: By wrapping it this way, the roasting pan (if you’re not using a disposable one) is easier to clean, and the bird is easier to unwrap for basting.]
  • ROASTING
    • Preheat oven to 450(f).
    • Place bird in oven so it is approximately centered.
    • After 1/2 hour, reset thermostat to 350(f).
    • Cooking time on given on wrapper of the beast is usually reliable, if the bird is completely thawed.
    • If not thawed when placed in oven, fork testing is required. Beast is cooked when fork can be pushed into the flesh easily and withdrawn easily. Testing points are at the base of the wing (shoulder), thigh, and carcass under thigh (any place where meat is thick). [MissMeliss says: I know it’s trendy to cook turkey by internal temperature. The pop-up thing in a butterball is a guideline, not a rule, and the turkeys I use rarely have timers embedded. I never cook by temperature, just by fork testing – the juices should run CLEAR, btw – and I’ve never had an underdone bird or killed anyone.]
  • BASTING
    • Basting is IMPORTANT to flavor of bird, more so to flavor of gravy
    • At the end of each hour of baking , open foil and baste. Four or five syringe-fulls of basting fluid should be poured over the bird.
    • All fluid should then be picked up from bottom of pan and returned to the stock pot.
    • Then fill syringe twice and pour over bird.
    • Leave fluid in pan and close foil.
    • Return bird to oven.
    • The fluid recovered from roaster at each basting is what browns the gravy.
  • GRAVY
    • When bird is done, thicken fluid in stock pot with corn starch or flour. Amount of thickening will depend upon amount of fluid.
    • Add a little thickening at a time till desired thickness is obtained.
    • Stir well and be alert for boil-over. As soon as boiling starts, lower heat to point of slow boil. If violent boiling begins, lift pan off heat and stir vigorously.
    • Sneaky Hint: One final basting with gravy will often enhance browning of the beast.
      Sometimes produces a glazed look.

Good luck with your turkey, enjoy your meal.
Bon Appetit!!!

Poem: Monday, 4:05 PM

The reflection of the sun on the water
Is sending ghostly ripples of light
Across my windowpane,
As if I’m being visited by the visual echo of wind,
Or an aurora borealis known only to me.

A cursory glance at the pool
Shows no waves,
No movement at all from the water,
And the trees are not blowing with vigor,
But breathing gentle sighs
As their branches lift and fall
In arboreal shrugs.

In a few minutes,
The sun will sink behind the treeline.
The water will be cool and dead-looking
Instead of sunlit and alive,
And the essence of wind drawn in light
Will be gone from my view.

For now, though,
I’m content to sit here
And watch the wavy lines
Sketch temporary patterns on the glass.

It should be painfully obvious from this piece why I rarely attempt poetry. This is posted unedited, as I originally wrote it on 24 November 2008