This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HonestSimpleTurkey #CollectiveBias
Ready to make a wish for the perfect turkey platter this holiday season? As we all gather around the table to give thanks, remember this. That great memories make the best traditions. From drying out wishbones, to carving up that perfect bird. See how serving up the best Thanksgiving can start with Honeysuckle White.
So come with me as I gather up some poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme), onions, lemons, and a meat thermometer. Little do people realize that you don’t need a roaster or even an oven to cook a whole turkey. You can also poach a whole turkey right on the stove top. And after this, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.
Growing up in Michigan’s farmland, I’m no stranger to knowing where my food comes from. So when I do shop for a whole bird to serve up during the holidays? I prefer it to be farm fresh. And that is one aspect of shopping at Kroger stores that I love. They really make an effort in supporting local and independently owned farms.
Now enter Honeysuckle White. Who is rockin’ the market (in my eyes) by providing honest, simple turkey. No growth promoting antibiotics are used*. No added hormones or steroids. And the turkey is pre-basted for exceptional flavor. All in collaboration with independent family farms properly trained in animal handling practices.
Because for me, it’s not just about knowing how my food is made…but also who is making it. Which beyond the farmers bringing it to market, is normally my Dad. Who not only instilled his passion for cooking poultry, but also passed down a wonderful philosophy. That any occasion can be a special event where turkey is involved.
So I’ve had turkey every way it can be; be that basted, brined, roasted or toasted. But unlike that traditional Norman Rockwell image. The best part of turkey tradition was always seeing my Dad carve down to find the wishbone. Because with a large family, we carved the turkey in the kitchen to bring platters of meat to the table.
And that’s where the magic of my holiday memories and family traditions are. Seeing family seated around fresh sliced turkey. I remember glancing at the wishbones resting on a kitchen windowsill to dry. Then wishing and hoping that I would be the one to snap the majority of it off. Of course then granting me my utmost dream come true!
Which those wishes would later include fantastic in-store Kroger deals and fresh (not frozen) whole turkeys. Because where food prep is concerned…I really despise having to thaw a frozen turkey. I never seem to give it enough time and am always in a lurch. Not anymore though with Honeysuckle White market fresh turkey options!
For instance, I literally picked up this bird from the Kroger meat department and had it in poaching in my stock pot hours later. Honeysuckle White even makes the turkey prep easier by including an oven-safe nylon brace** so you can easily truss your turkey! I start by giving the turkey a good rinse. And since I won’t be using them, I discard the included neck and giblet bag.
Now that I’m ready to put the water on, I brought out my 20 quart stock pot and filled it with 3 gallons of water. This larger sized stock pot, enables me to cook a whole turkey from about 12-18 pounds. The water itself needs to cover the turkey by about an inch. So adjust accordingly as your turkey and stock pot may be different dimensions.
Also, to poach something is not to boil it. So I normally set the heat on high to bring the water to a near boil, then reduce the heat to medium for a good simmer while the turkey heats. After about an hour however, you’ll notice you need to reduce the heat further to prevent a boil. The entire poaching process will cook this 13-14 pound turkey in 1-1/2 to 2 hours to a poultry temp of 165° degrees.
That said, with the water heating and the turkey rinsed, I begin finishing the turkey prep. Since poaching a turkey enables the bonus of also creating bone broth, I opt for adding a bit of additional flavor. Using a knife, I gently separate the turkey skin from the breast meat and stuff in my fresh poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme). Then I slice two lemons and place what I can into the turkey cavity.
Folding the legs back into the nylon brace, I placed the entire turkey onto a stainless steel canning rack. Complete with handles, I can use oven mits to easily lift this bird in and out of the water. This also enabled the turkey to stay off the bottom of the stock pot while cooking.
My canning rack was included with the stock pot when it was purchased and thus, is sized appropriately to the stock pan used. You can find a coordinating set at your local supermarket or department store for poaching poultry.
DO NOT rely on the nylon corded brace to lift the turkey in or out of the heated water. As this this cord is only meant to hold the legs closed while cooking.
After 1-1/2 to 2 hours, you can start checking your meat thermometer to see if the turkey is done. This is by plunging the meat thermometer into the deepest part of the turkey for a temperature of 165 degrees. Once reached, turn off the heat and leave the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before removing from the water.
- 3 Gallons water
- 20 Quart Stock Pot
- Honeysuckle White Whole Fresh Young Turkey (13-15 pounds)
- 1 pkg fresh poultry herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary)
- 3 medium lemons
- 4-5 medium sweet onions
- Begin by bringing 3 gallons water to a near boil in stock pan.
- Reduce heat to medium if on high for retaining initial water temperature.
- Rinse turkey to prepare for poaching. This recipe discards neck and giblets.
- Slice lemons and insert into turkey cavity
- Insert fresh herbs under turkey skin. Remaining herbs can be added to water.
- Place turkey into heat proof holder for lifting in and out of pan properly. Do NOT use nylon truss cord for lifting turkey in/out of hot water while using this cooking method.
- Submerge turkey by 1" into stock pot. Cover.
- Periodically check turkey to maintain a simmer and not a boil. Reduce heat if necessary.
- Allow turkey to simmer for 1-2 hours or until poultry is heated to 165 degrees.
After turkey is cooked, add quartered sweet onions to remaining water and turkey drippings. Bring to full boil for 2-3 hours while broth is reduced or when you can see that 2-4 inches of fluid has been evaporated. Freeze for later use.
Poaching a turkey will not give you a golden crisp bird. As such, this cooking method isn’t for leaving the kitchen. But what it will do, is carve up to a fantastic platter of sliced, moist turkey. And as a result of the poaching method, also grant you quarts of delicious bone broth as well.
Once the turkey is removed, cube up 4-5 sweet onions to add to the water remaining. Then boil on high for 2-3 hours until the drippings and water are reduced to about 8-10 quarts. Or in eyeball terms, you’ll see the water has “boiled down” 2-3 inches. Freeze for adding to soups, stews, and other miscellaneous dishes you need stock.
Ready to find your own Honeysuckle White turkey for Thanksgiving? Then head to Kroger for great in-store bargins to save $2 (select stores 11/6-12/31) or $2.50 (national deal 10/31-11/21) off one Fresh Honeysuckle White Whole Turkey. And make sure to check out the @HonestTurkey instagram page for even more delicious ideas on how to make everyday a turkey day!
*Antibiotics responsibly used only when needed for treatment or prevention of illness.
**Oven safe nylon brace is safe in temperatures up to 500° degrees.