The turkey must be prepared the evening before, as it has to be in the oven for at least 15 or 16 hours, depending on its size. My prepared bird weighed 9.5 kg and was put in the oven at midnight because we wanted to eat around 6 or 7 p.m. the next day. So we prepared it in the evening and put it back in the fridge for the remaining hours until midnight.
The evening before:
Wash the turkey thoroughly inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Carefully remove the skin from the meat over the breast meat and push small pieces of butter under the skin. Do not just cut into the skin, but work over the opening in the neck. Cuts in the skin encourage the escape of meat juice and should therefore be avoided.
Prepare the filling if desired: I have taken the really wonderful corn and bacon filling here from the recipe database: Melt the butter and fry the onion with the bacon in it until translucent. Put the onion and bacon in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients (except the eggs ) Process very well together. Now quickly fold the eggs into the mixture. Tip: The turkey should not be filled to bursting. Fill the bird, do not stuff it too much, as the filling swells during cooking, and seal it with toothpicks.
Salt and pepper the outside of the bird and place on the grid in the oven preheated to 220 ° C. The grate should be in the lower third so that the bird is in the middle of the oven. Place a large casserole dish / fat pan in the lower part so that the fat and meat juices can be caught here. During this time the butter will melt and the first turkey fat will drip into the tub.
After one hour, reduce the temperature to 85 ° C. From now on there is no need to worry about the bird until it is served. For the rest of the cooking time (filled turkey approx. 16 hours for 8 kg, approx. 18 hours for 10 kg, etc. - depending on weight) keep the oven closed and do not water the bird!
On the evening of dinner:
About an hour before eating, fry the turkey entrails in a large, heavy saucepan in butter and olive oil until they are brown and lightly set on the bottom of the saucepan. Add the finely diced vegetables and roast them. Deglaze with white wine, pour on the chicken stock, add salt, pepper, thyme and a pinch of sugar. Let simmer for at least half an hour without a lid so that the stock is reduced and really permeates.
Remove the innards and puree the sauce with the vegetables. The pureed vegetables give the sauce a wonderful taste and a light binding. Add the cranberry sauce and season with salt and pepper.
When the turkey is ready - the meat should be 85 ° C everywhere, measure it with a meat thermo if necessary - it is carefully lifted out of the oven. Be careful: some meat juice has formed in the bird that has not yet leaked. Carefully move the turkey back and forth on the grate and over the fat pan, tilting it so that the meat juice is caught in the mold (I used approx. 750 ml of pure meat juice and approx. 250 ml of pure fat!) Open the bird place a serving platter, spoon out the filling and serve in a separate bowl.
Tip the contents of the fat pan into a tall, narrow container (e.g. measuring cup), skim off the fat and pour the pure meat juice into the sauce. Bring the sauce to the boil again, season to taste, tie if necessary and serve with the bird.
The most complicated thing about this recipe is the sauce, because once the bird is in the oven, you don`t have to bother anymore.
To all doubters: You really don`t have to worry about salmonella as long as the turkey is fresh, the kitchen and all materials (knives, cutting boards, work surfaces) are kept clean and the oven is reliably heating. After such a long cooking time, there is no way any part of the bird will not be cooked.
The better the quality of the turkey, the more joy you will have with the meat in the end. In our case, the legs came off the joints easily and the meat fell off the bones, it was so tender and juicy.
On Thanksgiving, we had homemade red cabbage, bacon-wrapped beans, garlic and mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce and, of course, the turkey filling, in addition to the turkey. Due to the high bread content, this was a great addition to the menu and tasted like cleverly seasoned napkin dumplings.