Updated Friday, December 28th, 2007
Believe it or not, it's possible to roast your turkey ahead of time and store the cooked meat in the freezer to reheat and serve on the big day. If this sounds a bit too much like eating leftovers, let me assure you that by following these simple freezing and reheating instructions, you'll have moist, delicious turkey -- and not one of your guests will suspect you didn't spend the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchen keeping watch over a hot oven.
Feel free to use your own favorite turkey recipe if you prefer, and then follow the freezing/reheating instructions at the end of this article (but I personally don't think you'll find a tastier turkey recipe!).
In bottom of a deep roasting pan, place two quartered
onions, four celery stalks, the carrots, bay leaves and
white wine (or water). Remove turkey giblets, rinse
bird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Stuff
turkey loosely with remaining quartered onion and celery
stalks. Brush turkey with olive oil mixed with salt, pepper,
sage, and thyme. Cover turkey loosely with a large sheet
of foil coated lightly with olive oil, crimping foil on to edges
of roasting pan. Cook according to chart below. During
last 45 minutes, cut band of skin or string between legs
and tail. Uncover and continue roasting until done.
Baste, if desired.
Turkey Roasting Chart (loosely wrapped with foil):
12-16 pounds / 325 degrees F / 4 - 5 hours
16-20 pounds / 325 degrees F / 5 - 6 hours
20-24 pounds / 325 degrees F / 6 - 7 hours
Testing for doneness:
About 20 minutes before roasting time is completed, test
bird. Flesh on thickest part of drumstick should feel soft
when squeezed between fingers, drumstick should move
up an down easily, and meat thermometer inserted into
thickest part of leg should read 185 degrees F. (Or follow
Pour liquid and drippings from roasting pan
into a bowl. Remove vegetables. Allow bowl of liquid to
cool in refrigerator until fat congeals on top. Scoop off fat
with a spoon and pour drippings into a labeled freezer bag.
Thaw to use for making gravy on serving day.
Allow turkey to cool in pan for 1/2 hour; then
place turkey and its roasting pan into refrigerator. Allow
to cool completely (several hours). When fully chilled,
slice turkey as usual. Remove all meat from bones.
Place breast and dark meat slices into labeled freezer
bags. Pour canned chicken broth into bags over meat.
Thaw bag of meat and broth, and place into
a covered baking dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Or place turkey and broth into a microwave-safe dish,
cover with plastic wrap, and heat until hot (the time will
vary with different microwaves, so check manufacturer's
instructions). Drain off broth (reserve to make more gravy,
if needed). Arrange the heated turkey slices attractively
on a serving platter. Serve hot.
Excerpted and adapted from the 10-Day Holiday Meal
Plan in the bestselling book, 'Frozen Assets: How to
Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month' (Champion Press).
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Comments maybe edited for length and clarity.