My mother died early this year, and I'm trying to reconstruct her method for cooking a turkey. It's apparently not a very common method, as I haven't seen any recipes that have helped me understand it. and I know it breaks a lot of today's thinking about turkeys, but I liked it so oh well.
She'd get a decent sized bird, (we usually had 50-60 family members for t'day so there were usually two birds and a country ham)and stuff it with a torn up bread celery onion poultry seasoning egg stuffing. Then she'd put it on a rack in a roasting pan and pour in what seemed like a LOT of water. like at least a quart. Making sure that it didn't come up to touch the bird, but pretty close. Then she'd very tightly cover the pan and roast in a pretty low oven for much longer than one would think. The idea being it was cooked/steamed long enough for the stuffing to definitely be okay. I think she would take the cover off the bird in the last 1/2 hour to crisp the skin. And even though it was cooked substantially longer than turkeys normally are, it was moist and good.
after the turkey was taken out, what was left of the water and the "turkeyness" that was left in it were cooked down with some kind of thickening agent for the gravy. This means NO brining, as the one year she tried that she thought the gravy was too salty.
So here are the issues I'm trying to figure out before thursday next:
what kind of temperature to use
I don't know if she buttered or oiled the outside of the turkey, I wonder if that'd be good/necessary
And as far as the gravy, I got nothing. It doesn't make sense to me that you could defat the broth and cook it down, but it also seems like not defatting the broth would lead to a heavy and not so good gravy.
Anyone familiar with this method? any suggestions?