OKLAHOMA TABLE: Let's Talk Turkey (and Dressing)

Sherrel Jones begins month of preparations for Thanksgiving Feast — Oklahoma style.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: November 6, 2013
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All that stuff to go with the turkey includes my easy, make-ahead sherry-infused gravy, the easiest cranberry sauce and, of course, the dressing my family thinks is the only dressing: Easy Enhanced Stove Top, made better with the addition of homemade cornbread with local cornmeal, flour, eggs and milk.

Including pan juices at the last minute will make that dressing even better. That's right dressing, not stuffing. Dressing is a safer bet because stuffing the inside of a raw turkey cavity with cornbread crumbs is an excellent way to introduce foodborne bacteria into the digestive system of those around your Thanksgiving table.

My plan is to include as many Oklahoma-produced foods in our holidays as possible, starting with sand plum jelly.

It imparts a lovely golden finish to the surface and just enough sweetness to offer complexity to the flavor. This classic method can be used with a lidded roasting pan or heavy-duty roaster with a tent of foil until final basting. Plan about 15 minutes roasting time per pound plus an additional 20 to 30 minutes resting time.

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Turkey tips

Thawing

In cold water: Thaw breast-side down, in wrapper, submerged completely in cold water. Make sure water remains cold; add ice if needed. Estimate at least 30 minutes per pound to thaw a whole turkey.

Thawing times

Listed here are approximate thawing times for various weights of turkey, with times for refrigerator thawing and for cold-water thawing:

10 to 12 pounds: 2 days; 4 to 6 hours.

12 to 14 pounds: 3 days; 6 to 9 hours.

14 to 18 pounds: 4 days; 9 to 14 hours.

18 pounds plus: 4 to 5 days; 14 to 24 hours.

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