Culinary File
Culinary File

All about turkey > Turkey 101

What are the key pointers for stuffing a turkey?

Stuffing should be prepared and stuffed into the turkey immediately before it is placed in the oven for roasting. If preparing the stuffing ahead-of-time, wet and dry ingredients should be refrigerated separately and combined right before stuffing the turkey.

Stuff the turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Test the internal temperature of the stuffing as well as the turkey. The internal temperature in the center of the stuffing should register 160 to 165 degrees F.

When is the turkey done?
Since turkey is low in fat and high in protein, the meat is sensitive to extreme heat and prolonged cooking. Loosely place an aluminum foil tent over the turkey breast during the first 1 to 1½ hours of roasting, then remove to allow the turkey to brown.

A turkey should be cooked just until it is done. The best way to determine the level of doneness is with a food thermometer. Use these tests to determine doneness and to keep the turkey juicy.

For whole turkey, place the food thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone. The internal temperature of the turkey should measure 180 degrees F in the thigh and 170° F in the breast. Juices should run clear and the drumsticks should be soft and move easily at the joint.

Tips from MSCOMM

Personally, I like to use an enameled iron roaster: you reduce the cooking times below by almost half, and you can be sure that the meat remains moist, even without constant basting. Allow 18-20 minutes per 500 g instead of 30, otherwise you will have to baste frequently.

The meat on the drumsticks tends to cook and dry out quickly - simply wrap them with a lettuce leaf and then cover with aluminum foil.

There's usually never enough stuffing in the cavity to satisfy all the guests, so you can put the extra between the skin and meat of the turkey or heat it separately in a pan in the oven with a good ladleful of the cooking juices.

You can also prepare the stuffing a day in advance and refrigerate it in a tightly closed container to save time on the day of your dinner, but it's very important that you don't stuff the turkey ahead of time in order to prevent bacterial growth.

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