To Boil a Turkey



A delicate but plump hen-turkey of moderate size should be selected for boiling. Free the skin most carefully from all the stumps, rad draw the bird, using the greatest precaution not to break the gall bladder; singe it with writing paper, take off the head and neck, cut through the skin round the first joint of the legs, and draw them off: this is best accomplished by fastening the feet to a strong hook, and then pulling the bird away from it. Wash it exceedingly clean, and then wipe it dry, fill the breast with the forcemeat No. 1 or 2 or with the oyster, chestnut, or French forcemeat, of which the receipts are given in the same chapter. In trussing it draw the legs into the body, break the breast-bone, and give the turkey as round and plump an appearance as can be. Put it into plenty of warm water, or into as much boiling water as will rise about an inch over it, and when it has quite boiled for ten minutes, cool it down by the addition of cold water, and then take out a portion of it, leaving only as much as will keep the bird thoroughly covered until it is ready for table.* Clear off the scum with the greatest care as it is thrown to the surface, and boil the bird very gently from an hour and a half to two hours and a quarter. A very large turkey would require a longer time, but it is unsuited to this mode of cooking. When the oyster-forcemeat is used, a large tureen of rich oyster sauce should accompany the dish; but celery sauce, or good white sauce, may otherwise be sent to table with it; and a boiled tongue or a small ham is usually served in addition. For a plain family dinner, a delicate cheek of bacon is sometimes substituted for either of these, and parsley and butter for a more expensive sauce. Fast boiling will cause the skin of the bird to break, and must therefore be especially avoided: it should hang for some days before it is dressed, for if quite freshly killed it will not be tender, but it must be perfectly sweet to be fit for table. Truss the turkey by the directions of introductory chapter on trussing.

Moderate-sized turkey, 1½ to 2 hours; large turkey, longer; very small one, less time.

* As we have elsewhere stated, all meat and fish are injured by being cooked in a much larger quantity of water than is absolutely required for them.