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Home Cooking 68

Thanksgiving: something new that WORKED

Ruth Lafler | Nov 25, 201110:00 AM

I know there are a couple of other threads with discussions about how Thanksgiving went, but I thought it might be helpful to have one specifically to share tips that worked.

For me, it was using a stuffing bag. I happened upon an episode of America's Test Kitchen where they demonstrated putting the stuffing in cheese cloth in the cavity (I found out you can actually buy a cheese cloth bag specially made for stuffing; even better, I found it at the 99 cent store!). The idea at ATK was that you could take the stuffing out halfway through the cooking process, when it had already absorbed a good amount of drippings, then mix it with the stuffing that hadn't fit in the bird and finish it in the oven. Since they're way more paranoid about food safety than I am, they pointed out that this way the stuffing could be cooked to a safe temperature without overcooking the turkey. Plus, you can have moist stuffing with the flavor from the drippings and still have crusty bits: the best of both worlds! As a final bonus, you don't have to mess around with closing the cavity to keep the stuffing in (and not trussing the legs helps them cook faster). So win-win-win!

It became clear to me that taking the stuffing out of the partially cooked bird was going to be more trouble than it was worth (especially since, as I noted, I've never worried about the food safety issue). So I pulled it out as soon as the bird came out of the oven, mixed it up with the remaining stuffing and baked it while the turkey rested. Half an hour was plenty to cook it through, and it was delicious -- darn near perfect in fact. I will definitely do this again!

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