Thanksgiving – This is One Turkey You’ll Think Twice About Preparing

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Happy Thanksgiving

If you’ve never heard of Morton Thompson’s Turkey, you’re about to.  Every Christmas and Thanksgiving and pretty much any opportunity to talk turkey and stuffing, I bring up this bird.  The original recipe as I first read it is great, but I’ve included a printable version that might be easier for shopping and preparing.

You might ask, “But is it worth the trouble?”  I would  answer with a resounding, “Yes!”  The turkey is as tender as you could imagine, and the stuffing is pretty incredible.  I know, your stuffing recipe is the best, but you really should give this one a try.

Morton Thompson's Turkey
Definitely worth the effort. Substitute ingredients as close as possible.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
  1. 1 turkey - 7 to 9 kg (16 to 20 lb)
Basting Broth
  1. 1 bay leaf
  2. 1 tsp paprika
  3. 1/2 tsp coriander
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. 4 cups water
  6. 1 cup cider (added after turning off simmer)
Bowl One (medium-sized)
  1. 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  2. 1 orange, peeled, seeded, and diced
  3. 1 twenty-oz can, crushed pineapple, drained
  4. rind of one lemon, grated
  5. 2 five-oz cans water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
  6. 3 tbsp chopped preserved ginger
  7. 1 cup cider
Bowl 2 (large-sized)
  1. 2 tsp powdered mustard
  2. 2 tsp caraway seeds
  3. 3 tsp celery seeds
  4. 2 tsp poppy seeds
  5. 2 1/2 tsp oregano
  6. 1 crushed bay leaf
  7. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1/2 tsp mace
  9. 4 tbsp parsley, well-chopped
  10. 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  11. 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  12. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  13. 6 large ribs celery, chopped
  14. 4 large onions, peeled and chopped
  15. 1/2 tsp marjoram
  16. 1/2 tsp summer savory
  17. 1 tsp poultry seasoning
Bowl 3 (really-big-sized)
  1. 6 cups fresh bread crumbs, or 3 packages bread crumbs
  2. 3/4 pound ground veal
  3. 1/2 pound ground fresh pork or sausage
  4. 1/4 pound butter, softened
  1. 2 egg yolks
  2. 1 tsp powdered mustard
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  4. 1 tbsp onion juice
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  7. 1 tsp lemon juice
  8. Enough sifted flour to make a stiff paste
  1. Rinse the turkey, inside and out, and then season the same with salt and pepper.
  2. In a stewpan put the chopped gizzard and the neck and heart. Add the remaining basting broth ingredients along with salt to taste. Let this simmer slightly while you prepare the dressing.
  3. Mix each bowl thoroughly. "...mix it well. Mix it with your hands. Mix it until your forearms and wrists ache. Then mix it some more. Now toss it enough so that it isn't any longer a doughy mass."
  4. Turn oven on high, as hot as it goes. Really hot.
  5. Stuff bird. Prepare basting Paste.
  6. Place turkey in oven and brown evenly all over. No to worry about cooking it, just make it look picture perfect.
  7. Remove turkey from oven and reduce temperature to 325°F.
  8. While still hot, "...paint it completely all over with the paste. Put it back in the oven. The paste will have set in a few minutes. Drag it out again. Paint every nook and cranny of it once more. Put it back in the oven. Keep doing this until you haven't any more paste left."
  9. Remove the basting broth from the simmer but keep warm. Baste the bird every 15 minutes with the basting broth.
  10. Internal temperature should be 160°F. Remove from oven, remove crust, cover and rest.
  11. "You do not have to be a carver to eat this turkey; speak harshly to it and it will fall apart."
  12. Enjoy.
  1. The original recipe suggests flipping the turkey a few times during roasting: "After the bird has cooked about an hour and a half turn it on its stomach, back in the air, and let it cook in that position until the last fifteen minutes, when you restore it to its back again. That is, unless you use a rack. If you use a rack don't turn it on its back until the last half hour." I prefer to just let it do its thing and baste only.
Adapted from from "Joe, the Wounded Tennis Player" by Morton Thompson

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