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Turkey Tetra-Whoey

I have a really good recipe for Turkey Tetrazinni, a fancy, detailed and complicated recipe that I always have handy and never seem to use – especially in November.  I love the idea, trying to use up all the leftovers from my Thanksgiving feast, but as life usually goes, the idea works in theory – not so easy in practice.  That recipe has things like sautéed shallots, slowly roasted and shelled chestnuts and sherry.  Way too much on the effort scale.

In practice after Thanksgiving, I am tired from entertaining, hungry and probably a little cranky.  I want something warm and salty and that practically makes itself.  And I finally found it, and now I’m turning it over to you.  This is SO easy!

Measurements are going to be a little sketchy here, it really depends on what you have the most of.  As long as all the ingredients are wet when they go in, you’re covered.  Best to simply start with a large mixing bowl and a large oven-proof casserole dish and an oven turned up to 350°.

Leftover Turkey – skin and bones removed and cut up into medium to small size pieces
1 Box Macaroni – fully cooked (shave off one minute from the instructed cooking time).  I like mini rigatoni or elbow.
2 Cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
1 Chopped Onion – medium (raw or cooked)
1 Tbs. Sticks & Buds – email us for free samples 
1 Package Frozen Peas (or cooked if you have them leftover)
1 Package Chopped Mushrooms (or cooked if you have them leftover)
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Gravy
Leftover Stuffing

Except for the stuffing, combine everything onto a large mixing bowl and toss until everything is well combined and slippery looking. 

Put it all into a large casserole dish and top it with the leftover stuffing and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Put it into the oven at 350° for 35 minutes.  It will smell like heaven and taste even better.  It will also hold up to 5 days in the fridge and is perfect for re-heating in the microwave.  I’m having some now as I’m writing this to you.  Trust me, it’s as delicious as it is simple.

Be liberal, look around at the leftovers you have…carrots will cut up nicely and fit right in, even some of that green bean casserole will meld into this dish.  Resist the urge to combine the cranberry sauce though – it turns the dish a little sour.  Yes, I have already tried it.  But most things that go with Thanksgiving – the worlds greatest of all holidays – will go nicely into a casserole dish.  And what doesn’t go with cream of mushroom soup?

*Sticks & Buds is one of our special seasonings.  It’s an herbal mixture we created, a combination of organic, homegrown herbs and it adds just the perfect touch of fresh green-ness to this dish.  And no, I can’t think of a better word than green-ness.  We are giving away free samples to BOTH readers.  Email us at Cook@Iveysinmykitchen.com  Limit on per household.  You can also write to us at:  Ivey’s In My Kitchen, Inc. PO Box 181, Crompond, NY  10517

To stick with tradition, I will repeat our famous turkey recipe for you:

(Lovingly excerpted from “White Trash Thanksgiving” November 2002)

The Worlds Greatest Turkey

First point, bird selection is key.  I know there are a lot of fancy options out there; however, my mother had it right.  Frozen Butterball Turkeys are the best.  They are brined before freezing, a process that helps keep flavor and moisture in.  That doesn’t make it dry-out proof however.  Kosher birds are also brined but I have found them to be pricey and sometimes a little, well, feathery.

Second is in the cooking method.  High heat to start, cover and reduce.  Not only will this produce a juicy bird but it will produce it in half the time.  I know that I drone on like a broken record about meat thermometers but this is exactly where they really come in handy.  Do YOU have one?

How many times do you open the oven?, A BIG NO-NO, so quit it.  How many times do you prick the bird to see if the juices run clear?  Again, cut it out.  Let me ask you this, how many times have you taken that little buzzard out thinking it was done and ended up eating at 10 O’clock at night instead?  Using a digital probe meat thermometer saves you from all of that.  It will tell you when it’s ready.

Finally, marinating your bird.  Try it, you’ll like it. Have I steered you wrong yet?  I can’t claim ownership of this one; it was passed on to me by my neighbor, it is so good that I have used it every year since and I feel compelled to pass it on to you.  Start this process at least two days before Thanksgiving.  I begin on Monday.  If you are capable of letting go a small tradition, butterflying* the bird is a great idea.  I never bring the bird out anyway, my guests always see it disassembled on the platter, haven’t heard any complaints yet.  You can butterfly your bird at home just by removing the backbone.  All you need is a sturdy pair of poultry sheers or a big @ss sharp knife.  Turn the bird on her breast and start at the tushie.  Work your way up.  I don’t know if tushie is a culinary term, so don’t quote me.  If you are buying your bird fresh, not frozen, the butcher at the supermarket will be more then happy to butterfly it for you, just ask.

Disposable pans are a lifesaver here.  I hate to cleanup.  Get one with a flat bottom; it is easier to whisk the gravy that way.  I double them up for strength.  You should support the bottom too; a baking sheet works nicely.  You will need 3, 1 for marinating and 2 for the cooking.  (Tripling isn’t such a bad idea either ya know.)

If you have a roasting rack, use it.  If you don’t, try this trick; carrots, celery and onion cut into large pieces at the bottom of the pan for the bird to rest on.  Not only will it flavor the bird but it also adds to the pan juices for the gravy.

Do not stuff your bird!!!!!  I know there are a million years of nostalgia here but trust me; your bird will cook faster and more thoroughly with nothing in the cavity.  Besides, haven’t you heard about bacteria breeding grounds???? 

No basting!!  Another tradition debunked.  Basting only re-wets the skin making it more difficult to crisp up.  Once in the oven, juicy comes from the inside out, not the other way around.  And don’t forget, opening the oven really screws up your temperature. 

Okay, are we straight on  the pointers?  Good. 

For the Marinade  (Monday Night)

Combine in a large bowl………
4 Cups white wine (1 bottle)
4 Onions - chopped
1 Cup Soy Sauce
1 Large bunch fresh Sage – roughly chopped
1 Large bunch fresh Thyme – roughly chopped
1 Cup Veggie Oil  (Insert Magic Oil here if you have it)
2 Large lemons – juiced and peel cut up

Place bird in a disposable roasting pan, breast side up.  Take the giblets and the neck and put them in a Ziploc baggie for later use, keep ‘em in the fridge.  Discard the liver, unless you enjoy it, I fry it up in a pan with bacon fat right then and there.  Pour the marinade over the top of the Turkey and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, turn the bird over, breast side down.  Repeat this process for two days. 

Here’s a few creative tricks to help you turn the bird.  Now that I’m in food service, I have an abundant supply of disposable gloves, but before that, I used small Ziploc baggies on the drumsticks and left them there throughout the whole time.  Another good one was wrapping the ends of the drumsticks in plastic wrap.  Tying supermarket plastic bags there works well too.  Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, remove the bird, throw away the marinade, discard ANY hangers on, use paper towels to lightly pat the bird dry, put it back in the now rinsed disposable pan and let it air dry in the refrigerator over night. 

Thursday Morning……
Take your bird out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 500°.  Yes, I did say 500° – MAKE SURE YOUR OVEN IS CLEAN OR YOU WILL GET SOME VERY FUNKY SMELLS. 

Remember that Ziploc baggie with the neck and giblets in it?  Go get it.  Put them in a saucepan, cover with lots of water, and throw in an onion, celery and a carrot or two.  Let it simmer on the stove while the bird is cooking.

Place the bird in the disposable roasting pan on a roasting rack (or use the veggie trick).

Take a large piece of heavy-duty tin foil and fold it in half into a triangle.  You are making a breastplate for the bird so form it to the shape and set it aside for later. 

Rub your bird down with Magic Oil; sprinkle with Kosher Salt, Paprika and a little bit of Garlic Powder.  I use my own seasonings; Sticks & Budsand Rub All OverIf you would like a free sample, email me:  Cook@Iveysinmykitchen.com

Pour 1 cup or less, of water in the bottom of the foil pan and put the uncovered bird in the 500° oven for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, take the bird out, cover the breast with the already formed foil breastplate, place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh – make sure it is not touching any bone, and set it to 175°.  (Between the thigh and the wing is the best place)  If you are partial to breast meat, penetrate the thermometer right through the foil, into the thickest part of the breast.  Set it for 165°

Put the bird back in the oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°

DON’T OPEN THE DOOR until the thermometer beeps!  When it does, double check by inserting the probe into the breast meat, 165 - 170 is your goal temperature for juicy white meat.

I always make my turkey first so that it is finished long before dinner.  I put it back into a 475° oven right before dinner is served, to warm it through and crisp up the skin a little more.  I have not dried out my meat yet.  Don’t exceed 20 minutes.

Yummy Home Made Gravy

There is nothing better than homemade gravy, especially when it’s this easy.  Remove turkey and any veggies from the pan, leaving all of the pan juices. 
You will need:
        6 Tbs. flour
        4 Cups giblet broth
1 Tsp. kosher salt
1 whisk
Gravy Master (Just a splash for color – read the bottle)
Place the roasting pan on top of the stove, removing the Turkey obviously, and scrape well, over med-high heat.  You want all those little baked on bits to come up, whisk in the flour for 2-3 minutes. You want the flour to cook until it’s a caramel colored brown. Add the giblet broth, whisking the whole time bring it to a brief boil, lower and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Serve immediately with Stove Top Stuffing and can-shaped cranberry sauce!


Enjoy this dish and keep warm this holiday season!

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