How Mom Cooks Her Turkey, and sets off the fire alarm

Mom tried a new method (or really an old method) of cooking the turkey this year. See the November Gourmet Magazine, page 180 for the whys and wherefores. They cooked 40 turkeys. Mom only had to do one to know that it was perfect.

Basically, first clean out your oven and put away the smoke alarm. Then, salt and pepper the turkey, put it in a 450 degree oven and cook until the meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees. It took less than 2 hours for a 14 pound turkey. The results were lovely, crisp skin and moist white meat.

There is no basting, no need, if your oven heats evenly, to turn the bird, or even, because we didn’t have one the right size, the need for a rack.

The only problem was that the smoke, even from a fairly clean oven, turned on the smoke alarm and we had to wait until John Sweeney came to take it down.

Highly recommended.

Lord Love a Duck

I have seen similar methods of defatting a duck in a number of cookbooks. This one works very well. Without first defatting a Long Island Duck, it is very easy to set the oven on fire (ask me how I know) because of the amazing amounts of fat that pours out.

From “Keeping Company” by Moira Hodgson –

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a duck, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain. Salt the duck. Using a hand-held hairdryer, dry the outside of the ducks for 8 minutes, wiping away the drops of fat that appear on the surface.

After this, you can cook the duck normally. Hodgson’s recipe uses a ginger, garlic and thyme mixture which is pretty good.