Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. For a 12 or so pound turkey, spray a deep roasting pan with cooking spray, put about 2 inches of water in the pan and remove the wrapper from your frozen bird….Yes, I said frozen. Rinse the turkey under cool water and place it in the pan BREAST side down. Cover with the lid or aluminum foil. Cook for 2 hours and check the water level. Most of the time you will not have to worry about the pan running dry but some birds don’t have as much goodness as others and you may have to add a bit of water to keep the level up. More often than not you will end up with much more liquid than when you started. Which is a very good thing. The turkey I baked last week ended up giving me so much broth that the 5-inch deep pan I used almost ran over. Continue to cook the bird checking it every hour or so until you start to see the backbone beginning to loosen up. Remove the cover and cook another hour or until done. Check for doneness by moving the legs. Most of the time you will know it is done because it falls apart on your fork. This bird is very easy to bone because the backbone is up and you can simply pull all the bones out, leaving yourself a perfect breast with only bones being in the legs, thighs, and wings. Chill the broth until the next day and remove the fat, which will float to the top and harden. Store the broth in the refrigerator for short term or freeze to use anytime you warm the turkey or to boost the flavor of a dish such as White Sloppy Joes. The longest I’ve ever cooked a frozen bird was 8 hours but he was over 25 pounds. They usually average 4 hours.
Thanksgiving (or Christmas) dinner may be wonderful; filled with friends, good wines and great food, but for me (Hubby talking) the height of the season is the next day and those following, when my flair for sandwiches can be given its fullest rein of the year.
First gather French or other rough-crusted bread, leftover cold turkey, lettuce, onion-thinly sliced, tomato-thinly sliced (optional), mayonnaise (fresh, if possible), stone-ground mustard, catsup (optional), butter, leftover cold dressing (stuffing), jellied cranberry sauce, black pepper (preferably fresh ground), and Tiger Sauce (optional).
Start with slices of bread; French, sourdough or shepherd’s, not the lily-white wonder fluff with which we make do for the rest of the year. Select a large plate and place two slices of bread before you, taking a moment to enjoy their aroma. They should be fairly thick to endue the stresses that will be placed on them. On one slice spread as much butter as you like or as your doctor will allow. Cover this with stone-ground mustard. If the traditional, sharp, yellow stuff is to your taste, more power to you. On the other slice, spread mayonnaise. Always take care to cover the bread from crust to crust, leaving none dry -- although the thickness is up to your conscience. Next a slice or two of turkey, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. If you are lucky, some thoughtful relative has done this for you. Or possibly for himself, without considering that you would get their first -- all is fair in love, war and sandwiches. Once again, make sure the bread is fully covered. Top this with black pepper to your taste. At this point you can also put on catsup or any other sauces you like. I generally just stick with the black pepper, although anything up to sour cream or sliced habanero pepper has crept in here. Add to this a slice, of equal thickness, of cold dressing, keeping it back a bit from the edges to allow for crumbling. This is, also, the time for onion, sliced paper-thin and as much as you like, and tomato slices, should you feel the need. Top this with thin slices of jellied cranberry sauce and lettuce. As to lettuce I prefer leaf but, again, your preference should rule. If it is available (i.e., we are not at relatives) I also add a few dashes of Tiger Sauce, a light but slightly hot and sweet oriental sauce commonly found on the condiment aisle. Feel free to write “Cooking DJ’s Way” at the paper with questions and comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cooking and kitchen stocking/organization classes are available.