published Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Turkey talk for cooking novices

Family’s coming for Thanksgiving, kids are screaming, Uncle Joe hates Aunt Liz, and you don’t know a stock pot from a sauce pan?


We can’t do anything about the dysfunctional relatives, but we can help keep you from making a turkey of yourself when it’s time to serve that centerpiece of Thanksgiving meals.

Charles Loomis, executive chef at Greenlife Grocery, takes us through the basic steps of roasting the bird. “After you get these basics down on roasting,” he said, “you can put your own flair on it.” Mr. Loomis enjoys brining his turkey prior to cooking.

Turkey 101 (for an 8-10 pound bird)

Equipment: Roasting pan, roasting rack, large cutting board, carving knife, serving fork, serving platter, thermometer.

Ten steps to your first turkey:

1. Wash the turkey inside and out and dry it well.

2. Dust with three tablespoons of kosher salt and one-and-a-half tablespoons of black pepper.

3. Rub it down with 1/2 cup of olive oil.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Let your turkey sit in the roasting pan on the roasting rack sitting out on the counter for about an hour to take the chill off of the inside.

5. Put three cups of chicken stock in the bottom of the pan.

6. Cover just the breast of the turkey with aluminum foil and roast the turkey for 30 minutes.

7. Remove the foil and continue to roast for another 30 minutes.

8. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and roast for another hour.

9. Using a thermometer check the thickest part of the thigh. Continue to cook until the thigh reaches 160-175. Don’t hit the bone or you won’t get an accurate reading.

10. Let the turkey rest on the cutting board for at least 20 minutes. Be sure to reserve the juices for gravy.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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