Roast Turkey With Nutty Stuffing</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media Credits: Roast Turkey With Nutty Stuffing</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media
1. Remember to thaw: If the turkey is frozen, it will take at least a few days to thaw in the fridge. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
2. Use a large roasting pan: The roasting pan should be large enough that the turkey does not touch the sides and ideally should have a few inches of room around it.
This helps for better air flow and even cooking. Just make sure the pan (and turkey) actually fits in your oven.
3. Don't stuff: Filling the turkey cavity with stuffing increases the cooking time, which can lead to a dryer bird. Besides, my favourite part of the stuffing is the crispy bits, which you can only get if the stuffing bakes separate from the bird.
Pop the "stuffing" into a casserole dish and into the oven while the turkey is resting. Click here for downloadable information on turkey roasting times.
4. Don't tie your turkey: Tying the turkey is just a waste of your valuable time.
Tying the legs together (or going all out and trussing the whole bird – tying snugly with kitchen twine so the wings and legs stay close to the body) does make for a nice presentation, but it increases cooking time. We suggest leaving the legs as is, and tucking the wings under the breast so they don't burn.
5. 325°F all the way: 325°F is the perfect temperature for roasting a turkey. It's not too hot that the bird will burn before it's done, and not too cool that the turkey takes forever. Some recipes start at a higher temperature and then reduce to 300 or 325°F, but if you don't get the timing right, the turkey might get too dark.
Cooking at 325°F the whole time yields a nicely browned and still juicy turkey.
6. Baste often: Basting the turkey while roasting helps to develop a nice overall colour as well as keeps it juicy. We recommend basting every 30 or 45 minutes. Use a turkey baster to suck of the juices from the pan (or use a pastry brush or spoon) and drizzle the juices over the top of the turkey. Sometimes the juices can accumulate in the cavity of the turkey. Carefully tip the turkey so the juices run out and there is something to baste with.
7. Tent with foil: If the turkey is getting too browned before it's cooked, cover loosely with a piece of foil. This will limit the browning while the turkey continues cooking.
8. Use a thermometer: Just because the turkey looks cooked, doesn't mean it is cooked. The only way of ensuring it's done is to use a thermometer. We like a digital instant-read thermometer because it gives the most accurate reading. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, if it reads 170°F, then the bird is cooked.
9. Let it rest: Once the turkey comes out of the oven, let it rest on the counter, loosely covered in foil for at least 30 minutes. This will let the juices redistribute and cool the turkey down a bit so it is not too hot to eat. Also, this gives to time to finish the side dishes and make the gravy. Just be sure to add the resting to the total time and time everything accordingly.
10. Carve in the kitchen: Although a beautifully presented bird brought to the dining table is the idealized picture of Thanksgiving, I always carve the turkey in the kitchen. Carving a turkey can be a messy job. Doing it in the kitchen means less mess, and less stress at the dining table. Start by removing the legs and thighs (remove the bone and cut up the thigh meat), cut away each breast from the bone and slice.
Check out these tips on how to have the best Thanksgiving ever.
Photography by David Wile Credits: Photography by David Wile
|This story was originally titled "Many Steps Forward" in the October 2014 issue.|
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Practising gratitude has always tripped up writer Kate Rae, but this year, she's embracing the idea.
Ask any of my stepchildren and they'll agree: The quickest way to induce a long, angry rant is to whine, "It's not fair!" (Also effective: "I'm bored….") I can go on and on about how fairness has nothing to do with who gets the slightly larger cookie, and how important it is to be thankful for all of the incredible privileges we have. And yet, I scroll right by those inspiring quotes about thankfulness posted by family and friends on Facebook. I've scoffed at the notion of keeping a gratitude journal, a daily diary of things in my life to be thankful for, as seen on Oprah and in many studies about happiness. (Despite all the evidence to recommend it, keeping one just doesn't feel like me.)
But according to the University of California at Berkeley's Greater GoodScience Center, people who practise gratitude are more joyful and optimistic and less lonely. I would love to experience all of those things, so why do I get all twisted inside when I hear about practising gratitude? The biggest reason is that it sometimes feels disingenuous. If I commit to being more grateful, am I still allowed to vent when my stepchildren's lunches come home uneaten? Do I have to keep mum about the craziness of a job or worries related to my health? Women's lives are stressful; hearing "but think of the good stuff" can sound (and feel) awfully silencing.
Earlier this year, though, I decided it was time to give gratitude a real chance; I wanted to see firsthand if it would change my outlook. Then, a stream of horrible things happened—it felt like every night on the news
there was another tragedy, and it felt like the whole world was going to implode. Putting aside a few minutes a day to think about all the awesome things in my life felt both unimportant and disrespectful. Gratitude is
meant to be a practice of thankfulness and positivity, and I worried it would feel smug: "At least I'm not them."
But I hunkered down and tried it. While I wouldn't go as far as a journal, I did try to spend a few minutes each day feeling thankful. I stayed far away from the material things and, instead, focused on people: friends, family, strangers and moments of connection, both big and small. I was grateful for getting to hear a four-year-old's thoughts on life, and grateful that, though there's a lot of horrible stuff happening in the world, there's also a lot of good. Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame, often repeated what his mother had said when he was a child frightened by scary life events: "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." I also looked for the fighters, the ones who are actively and relentlessly trying to make the world a fairer place.
And something clicked. Allowing myself small moments of gratitude didn't feel as draining as I thought it would; it felt uplifting, even restorative. I realized that gratitude as a goal still makes me squirmy. But gratitude as a starting point for change? That makes sense. Appreciating what we have can help us understand what other people, both far away and closer to home, don't have. It reminds us to ask, "What can I do about that? How can I help?"