If you’ve been reading my posts recently, you knew this was coming. I did debone a 15 lb turkey and successfully rolled and roasted it. Very pleasantly surprised, especially since my oven has ruined several recent holidays by refusing to cook a whole turkey all the way through. It was a great meal, but much of it will have to go in the freezer, because the two of us just can’t eat like we used to.
There were a few things different, though, about deboning a turkey compared to a chicken:
- It was bigger than a chicken, obviously, so that might have been the easier part, since all the parts were bigger.
- The wing and leg bones seemed harder to remove for reasons I can’t quite explain. Anyway, I got them out and only sliced one thumb, requiring a slight break in the activity while I cleaned up. Remember to keep alcohol and bandages around when working with sharp knives.
- Then there were the bone-like leg tendons. I was not strong enough to pull them out with needle-nose pliers as all the video chefs do. The best I could do was hold one end with the pliers and scrape them out with the knife edge.
- The dark meat end was a hot mess, but I just kept sticking in the ends and bits I could and didn’t worry about the ones that refused to go. I’ll figure that out next year.
- It sliced much better than the chickens; not sure why.
The stuffing was delightful. I used about a cup of my oven-dried cranberries in the stuffing, with some chopped walnuts and a country-style sage sausage. I think I will always use fruit and nuts in future stuffings, and sausage when I want a savory sweetness. For a change, and to save me more work, I used packaged stuffing cubes for the base.
There really isn’t a recipe for the turkey that’s different from the videos I’ve shown in this previous post, but here are the roasting details for my 15 lb turkey:
- Preheat oven to 450°; lightly oil a large roasting pan (I wish I had a heavy stainless steel roaster, Santa).
- Place stuffed, rolled, and trussed turkey in pan. Rub the roll with oil and season with lots of salt and pepper.
- Roast at this high heat for about 15 minutes to get browning started.
- Without opening oven door, reduce heat to 325° and roast until internal temperature reaches 165°, about 1 1/2 hours.
You can save time by deboning the turkey earlier in the day and keeping it in the fridge until ready to stuff. Plus, it gives you time to make a stock from the bones. We ate late in the day.
Cranberry, Walnut, Sausage Stuffing
1 14 oz package seasoned stuffing cubes (mine were sage and onion)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 celery heart, about 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 lb sage sausage (mine was Jimmy Dean®), lightly browned
about 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- In a large bowl, combine stuffing cubes, cranberries, walnuts, and cooked sausage.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and celery, cooking until translucent.
- Pour butter and vegetables over stuffing and mix well.
- Add turkey stock, stirring until all the bread is moistened. If you are using fresh bread, you might not need this mush stock. You want moistened bread that is not pasty.
Not only was the stuffing great, but it made the pan drippings in the roaster very flavorful, so that the gravy was exceptional. You could taste a little tartness in the stuffing from the berries and savory sweetness from the sausage. The walnuts retained a little chewiness after cooking.
Most of the stuffing went into a buttered 13″ x 9″ casserole to bake for 30 mins covered and 20 mins uncovered.