Recipe: Roast Turkey

Select a young TURKEY; remove all the feathers carefully, singe it over a burning newspaper on the top of the stove; then “draw” it nicely, being very careful not to break any of the internal organs; remove the crop carefully; cut off the head, and tie the neck close to the body by drawing the skin over it. Now rinse the inside of the TURKEY out with several waters, and in the next to the last, mix a teaspoonful of baking soda; oftentimes the inside of a fowl is very sour, especially if it is not freshly killed. Soda, being cleansing, acts as a corrective, and destroys that unpleasant taste which we frequently experience in the Dressing when FOWLS have been killed for some time.

Now, after washing, wipe the TURKEY dry, inside and out, with a clean cloth, rub the inside with some salt, then stuff the breast and body [Pg 83]with “Dressing for FOWLS.” Then sew up the TURKEY with a strong thread, tie the legs and wings to the body, rub it over with a little soft butter, sprinkle over some salt and pepper, dredge with a little flour; place it in a dripping-pan, pour in a cup of boiling water, and set in the oven. Baste the TURKEY often, turning it around occasionally so that every part will be uniformly baked. When pierced with a fork and the liquid runs out perfectly clear, the bird is done. If any part is likely to scorch, pin over it a piece of buttered white paper. A fifteen pound TURKEY requires between three and four hours to bake. Serve with cranberry Sauce.

Gravy for TURKEY.—When you put the TURKEY in to roast , put the neck, heart, liver and gizzard into a stewpan with a pint of water; boil until they become quite tender; take them out of the water, chop the heart and gizzard, mash the liver and throw away the neck; return the chopped heart, gizzard and liver to the liquor in which they were stewed; set it to one side, and when the TURKEY is done it should be added to the gravy that dripped from the TURKEY, having first skimmed off the fat from the surface of the dripping-pan; set it all over the fire, boil three minutes and thicken with flour. It will not need brown flour to color the gravy. The garnishes for TURKEY or CHICKEN are fried Oysters, thin slices of HAM, slices of lemon, fried PIGEONSs, or force meat balls, also parsley.

The Whitehouse Cookbook, by Mrs. F.L. Gillette (Year 1887)