Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Talking Turkey: Remove Giblets and Neck and Use Thermometer for Perfect Bird

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Talking Turkey: Remove Giblets and Neck and Use Thermometer for Perfect Bird

Article excerpt

Talking turkey: Remove giblets, use thermometer


TORONTO - One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking a turkey for the first time is forgetting to remove the bag of giblets and neck that are tucked into the cavity of many birds when they're processed.

"My aunt, I remember the first turkey she made. We went to her house. Everything was beautiful. She pulled out the turkey. It looked great. But she forgot to take out the giblets," recalls Emily Richards of Guelph, Ont.

"I think that's one of the most common first-time turkey stories I've heard," says the professional home economist. "And it's something that some recipes might not even include because that's something that's an assumption or if you've seen someone make a turkey, you know.

"It's those little things like that that once you know them you'll feel a little bit more comfortable in continuing on," she adds.

Richards rinses the giblets and neck and boils them in water while the big bird is cooking, then uses the liquid to make flavourful gravy.

"If you don't want to deal with the giblets, the utility turkeys tend to not have the giblet bags," she explains. "The tip of the wing might be snipped off or there might be a little puncture in the skin. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the turkey. In processing it might have got a little nip or a tuck and those are the ones you tend to see a lot more discounted or sold frozen most often.

"If I'm cooking more than one, for the price it's awesome to get them," she says, adding she often cooks a couple turkeys and also makes stock during cold weather months. The meat can be frozen and the stock can be used in soups and stews.

Richards is a seasoned host but acknowledges that the first time having family and friends over for Thanksgiving dinner can be nerve-racking.

Figure out how many people are attending your feast to determine the size of turkey and number of potatoes you'll need. Plan your menu and draw up a shopping list so you don't forget anything.

If guests offer to contribute to the meal, take them up on it. You can keep control over the menu by asking them to bring a side dish or salad to accompany your turkey, mashed potatoes and dessert, but you'll ease your work load.

Guests bringing a dish should keep in mind that oven space is often at a premium when a holiday meal is being prepared. Consider toting a slow cooker filled with a squash soup or a side dish that simply needs reheating. While the turkey is resting after being removed from the oven (20 to 30 minutes depending on its size) and before being carved, the oven temperature can be increased to 220 C (425 F) to quickly reheat shallow dishes of vegetables or side dishes.

Another common error Richards points to is dry meat as a result of overcooking. The best remedy is to insert an instant-read thermometer in the thigh area where the dark meat is, being careful not to touch bone. …

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