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Make-ahead Turkey for the Holidays
by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Enjoy the festivities without the hassle

Can you imagine a relaxed Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner
without needing to actually cook a turkey on the big day?
You'd be able to enjoy the festivities as much as your friends
and family!

Believe it or not, it's possible to roast your turkey ahead of
time and store the cooked meat in the freezer to reheat and
serve on the big day. If this sounds a bit too much like
eating leftovers, let me assure you that by following these
simple freezing and reheating instructions, you'll have moist,
delicious turkey. Your guests will not suspect that you didn't
spend the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchen keeping
watch over a hot oven.

Feel free to use your own favorite turkey recipe if you
prefer, and then follow the freezing/reheating instructions at
the end of this article (but I personally don't think you'll
find a tastier turkey recipe!).


3 onions, quartered
6 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups white wine (or water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons sage1 teaspoon thyme3 cups chicken broth, canned
(reserve for freezing process)

In bottom of a deep roasting pan, place two quartered onions,
four celery stalks, the carrots, bay leaves and white wine (or
water). Remove the turkey giblets, rinse bird inside and out.
Pat dry with paper towels. Stuff the turkey loosely with
remaining quartered onion and celery stalks. Brush the turkey
with olive oil mixed with salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Cover
the turkey loosely with a large sheet of foil coated lightly
with olive oil, crimping the foil on to edges of the roasting
pan. Cook according to the chart below. During the last 45
minutes, cut band of skin or string between the legs and tail.
Uncover and continue roasting until done. Baste, if desired.

Turkey Roasting Chart (loosely wrapped with foil):
12-16 pounds / 325 degrees F / 4 - 5 hours
16-20 pounds / 325 degrees F / 5 - 6 hours
20-24 pounds / 325 degrees F / 6 - 7 hours


About 20 minutes before roasting time is completed, test the
bird. The flesh on the thickest part of drumstick should feel
soft when squeezed between fingers, drumstick should move up
and down easily, and meat thermometer inserted into thickest
part of leg should read 185 degrees F. (Or follow
manufacturer's instructions.)


Pour the liquid and drippings from the roasting pan into a
bowl. Remove the vegetables. Allow the bowl of liquid to cool
in refrigerator until fat congeals on top. Scoop off the fat
with a spoon and pour the drippings into a labeled freezer
bag. After the drippings are thawed, use them to make gravy on
serving day.

Allow the turkey to cool in the pan for 1/2 hour; then place
the turkey and its roasting pan into refrigerator. Allow to
cool completely (several hours). When fully chilled, slice the
turkey as usual. Remove all the meat from the bones. Place the
breast and dark meat slices into a labeled freezer bags. Pour
canned chicken broth into the bags over the meat. Then,


Thaw the bag of meat and broth, and place into a covered
baking dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Or place the
turkey and broth into a microwave-safe dish, cover with
plastic wrap, and heat until hot (the time will vary with
different microwaves, so check manufacturer's instructions).
Drain off the broth (reserve to make more gravy, if needed).
Arrange the heated turkey slices attractively on a serving
platter. Serve hot.

** Excerpted and adapted from the 10-Day Holiday Meal Plan in
the best-selling book, 'Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day
and Eat for a Month' (Champion Press).