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Catch ‘em & Cook ‘em: Roast Turkey & Dressing

November 16, 2016
By Capt. Dick May , Pine Island Eagle

1 12-14 lb turkey. If frozen, give it two or three days in the refrigerator to thaw in its packaging

The day before cooking, remove the giblets and neck and save in a sealable plastic bag before you brine the turkey.

Wash turkey thoroughly in cool water.


In a large non-reactive pot place:

1 C salt, 1 C brown sugar, 2 lemons (quartered) and 2 oranges (quartered) and a sprig of rosemary

Stir into three cups of cold water and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.

Place the turkey to the pot and add enough cold water to cover the turkey. (If you do not have a pot large enough, you can use a heavy duty plastic garbage bag sitting in a cooler with a bag of ice cubes inside it).


Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. If stuffing the turkey with dressing, stuff the body and neck cavities and spread softened butter over entire turkey and season with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan, breast side up, and cover with a tent made of aluminum foil and put into a preheated oven at 350 degrees.

Cook for 15 minutes for each pound of turkey or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees when inserted into the breast and 185 degrees in the thigh. I personally use the old-fashioned test of taking a paper towel and grabbing a leg to see if I can easily pull it away from the body of the turkey. If you can, it is done.

At this point, when it is done, remove the foil and turn oven up to 375 degrees and let the skin on the breast brown.

Remove from the oven, tent with aluminum foil and let stand for 20 minutes before carving. Remove dressing before carving.



2 C chicken broth

Generous dash of ground black pepper

4 stalks celery coarsely chopped

1 large onion coarsely chopped

1 (16 oz. bag) Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned or Cornbread Stuffing mix.

1 stick butter melted and divided

How to:

1. Saute onion and celery in 1/2 of the melted butter until they are limp.

2. Heat broth and the other half of the melted butter and bring to a boil.

3. Pour the stuffing mix into a large bowl and pour sauteed vegetables over the dry stuffing mix.

4. Pour the hot broth mix over the stuffing and toss with a fork until it is moist throughout.

5. Stuff the neck cavity and body cavity lightly do not pack in as the stuffing will expand while cooking.

6. If you choose not to stuff your turkey, grease an ovenproof casserole with butter and add dressing and bake at 325 degrees, covered for 30 minutes or until hot throughout.

Capt. Dick May is the owner of Easy Rider Charters in Bokeelia. He can be reached at 239-283-3247 or "Capt. Dick's Seafood & Southern Country Cooking" (a new cookbook) can be ordered at Go to Cookbooks then to Food and Wine category. Type in "Capt. Dick's Seafood and Southern Country Cooking" and click. A picture of the cookbook, price and info for ordering will be displayed.



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