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Turkey Cooking: Festive Recipe Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2020


Turkey is a festive kind of food. Recipes have been passed on from generations on how to cook a turkey. You might have followed your family recipe and are now tired of the same old taste of the turkey. Many people find it difficult to maintain moisture when cooking turkey and you might not know the best way to prepare that turkey, making it deliciously crunchy and moist. All this will be solved using a simple recipe on how to cook turkey. This festive season is going to be delicious. It is important to note that recipes can be manipulated. The audience targeted is the mother who loves to cook whole meals for her family.

The purpose of this specific recipe is to show you how to prepare moist roasted turkey fit for any festive occasion. This recipe is different from the rest that you can find because it will allow you to add different things that you want to experiment with, without making the taste too mild or too powerful.

Time needed

The cooking time for this recipe is four hours and the preparation of the turkey before cooking will take fifteen minutes.

Well Cooked Turkey.
Figure 1: Well Cooked Turkey.

Materials needed

Materials needed
  • Roasting pan
  • Normal cooking pans
  • Meat thermometer
  • Oven
  • Cooking spoons
  • Kitchen towels
  • Chopping board
  • Kitchen string

Tip: Have various holding cloths so that you can use as many as possible because the turkey is large

Ingredients required


You will need the following ingredients. Ensure that you get them before you start preparing the turkey.

  • 1 turkey;
  • Olive oil/butter/cooking oil;
  • 10 tablespoonfuls;
  • Salt – three pinches;
  • Pepper – one teaspoon(your choice);
  • Juice of one fresh lemon;
  • 2 carrots;
  • Bunch of celery;
  • Parsley;
  • 2 onions, nicely diced;
  • Rosemary (preferably the fresh leaves and not the manufactured dried sticks of rosemary).

The recipe has given ingredient portions and size that can be used to prepare a 10lb turkey. This is a turkey that can feed up to 10 people (Kamberg 145).

Step 1

Preparing the turkey

Warning: To avoid injuries, keep the sharp ended part of the knife constantly pointed away from you at all times.

Tip: Before you begin, ensure that the kitchen the necessary utensils and the oven are clean. Wash using mild detergent and clean water and then dry with clean kitchen towels (Ferguson 43).

  • Defrost the turkey.

Tip: Do not remove the plastic wrapping around it when thawing. The plastic helps seal the moisture in the turkey. Turkey that has been refrigerated for long loses moisture, which will make the turkey hard and chewy (Bittman 12).

Turkey in bag
  • Put the turkey, still in its bag, in a pan.

This is necessary so that if the bag is torn and starts to release the turkey juices, then they will be collected in the pan. You will note that the paper will start filling with juices after a while, like in the picture below, especially if the turkey has not stayed in the fridge for a long time.

Body parts
  • Remove the heart, gizzards, liver, and the neck. These body parts can be used for stuffing.

Tip: If you do not want to separate them, then you can use all of them for stuffing, making small edibles, or making soup.

The legs tied
  • Leave the legs tied if they are already held together with a string. The string is not edible, but it comes in handy when trussing.
  • Chop the carrots, onions, parsley and celery

Step 2

oven preheated to 400

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Step 3

The turkey with cold running water

Seasoning the turkey

  • Clean the turkey with cold running water as the oven is heating.
  • Remove any visible feathers from the skin of the fowl. Use a towel to dry the meat and ensure the towel is clean before using it.
Warning The lemon juice
  • Rub the lemon juice on the inner sides of the turkey. Rub a little salt inside the cavity too. This will ensure that the insides of the bird are well seasoned.
Black pepper
  • Sprinkle other seasoning ingredients like black pepper inside.

Tip: Ensure you use moderate amounts of seasoning because you will also have to add some of the seasoning on the outside skin of the turkey.

Slice giblets
  • Slice giblets into small pieces and boil in salty water for fifteen minutes. This will prepare them for stuffing (if you want to stuff) and make them soft for cooking and making broth.
Stuff the turkey with the onions, nicely chopped carrots, parsley, and the celery.
  • Stuff the turkey with the onions, nicely chopped carrots, parsley, and the celery.

Tip: If the stuffing starts to fall out, wrap the turkey in foil. If the turkey had not been tied up, then you will have to use metal skewers to tie the legs together. The string also has to go round the body of the turkey, like in the picture on the right.

Stuff the turkey Cooking oil.
  • Rub whatever cooking oil that you have chosen all over the bird. Add a bit of pepper and a little more salt on the skin of the bird.

Tip: Use olive oil to bring out a rich taste

Turkey on rack over a roasting pan.
  • Place turkey on rack over a roasting pan.

Tip: Turkey should have the breast down on the grill. Placing the turkey this way ensures that juices are collected towards the chest of the bird. This will make the bird as moist as possible (Morgan 79).

Add rosemary
  • Add rosemary on the skin of the bird.

Step 4

Cooking the turkey

Cooking the turkey

The turkey is now ready to be cooked.

  • Place it in the oven that has been preheated to 400F.

Tip: There are turkeys that have cooking directions on the package and you can confirm what you are doing through those instructions. Add some of the given directions into this recipe.

  • Leave the oven at 400F for the first half an hour.
  • Reduce the heat to 350F and leave the bird to cook for 1 hour 45 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 225F for the last one and a half.

Tip: The breasts will not brown well enough because they are facing down. Turn the bird in the last ten minutes so that the breasts can brown as well. If you think the turkey will overcook, then remove it after a few minutes (Miller 478).

The turkey is ready

Tip: You will know when the bird is overcooked or overcooking by using a meat thermometer. Usually, the temperature of the thickest portions, such as the breasts, is around 175F, while the rest of the parts are about 165F. It is advisable to remove the turkey from the oven when the temperatures of the above portions are 170F and 160F respectively because the temperature goes up after removing the turkey.

Another older and more traditional way of knowing if the bird is cooked is by jabbing it a bit with a knife. The juices that run out should be clear and not colored like before.

Meat thermometer on turkey

Meat thermometer on turkey
  • Let the turkey rest for fifteen minutes before carving it.
The turkey is ready

Tip: Leave the turkey for fifteen minutes before carving so that the juices that had collected at the chest can spread out of the turkey.


The following are words that are used in the recipe that might be new to the user.

  1. Giblets – These are the inner portions of the turkey, which include gizzards and the liver, among others. They can be prepared separately or together with the meat or bird, according to an individual’s desires.
  2. Truss – this is tying up the turkey. There are various ways of doing it, but the common factor about turkey trussing is that the legs have to be tied together.
  3. Stuffing – filling up the cavity of a bird with edibles.
  4. 10lb – 12lb turkey can feed 10 to 12 people, 12lb – 15lb turkey can feed 12 – 14 people. Use ingredients according to the size of the bird.
  5. 400F is approximately 205 degrees Celsius, 350F is approximately 175C, 175F is approximately 79C and 165F is approximately 72C.


  • If the turkey does not cook well and you have already removed it from the oven, return it immediately and reduce the heat.
  • If you do not have a meat thermometer, pierce the bird and check the juices. They should be clear if the bird is well cooked
  • Use metal skewers if you do not have kitchen strings. Do not use plastic strings
  • If you have more guests than anticipated, serve salads and other snacks before serving the turkey so that everyone can get a sizeable piece of turkey
  • If you do not have a turkey and finding one has been difficult, buy turkey parts from the supermarket and prepare them in the same way
  • If you have a short time for defrosting. Place the turkey in a water bath. Drain and replace the water every thirty minutes.

Serving tips

  • Serve at room temperature to get the natural taste of the bird
  • Slice the turkey after its cooled down to ensure no juice is lost
  • Ad slices of good cheese that people can add to their turkey

Works Cited

Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything Thanksgiving. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.

Ferguson, Renee S. Talk Turkey to Me. Geneva, IL: Wishbone Publishers, 2011. Print.

Kamberg, MaryLane. The “I Don’t Know How to Cook” Book: 300 Great Recipes You Can’t Mess Up! Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2008. Print.

Miller, Jan. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Des Moines, Iowa: Meredith Books, 2006. Print.

Morgan, Diane. New Thanksgiving Table. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2010, Print.

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