A delicate but plump hen-turkey of moderate size should be selected for boiling. Pick and draw it, 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 of Chapter VI (Forcemeats)., 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, 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 other wise 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.
Moderate-sized turkey, 1 1/2 to 2 hours; large turkey, longer; very small one, less time.
Turkey for Boiling.
Turkey boned and forced; (an excellent dish.) Take a small, well-kept, but quite sweet hen-turkey, of from seven to eight pounds weight, and remove, by the receipt for a fowl (page 200), all the bones except those of the pinions, without opening the bird; draw it into shape, and fill it entirely with exceedingly fine sausage-meat, beginning with the legs and wings; plump the breast well in preparing it, and when its original form is quite restored, tie it securely at both ends, and at the extremities of the legs; pass a slight iron skewer through these and the body, and another through the wings and body; then lay a twine over the back of the turkey, and pass it under the ends of the first skewer, cross it in the centre of the back, and pass it under the ends of the second skewer; then carry it over the pinions to keep them firmly in their place, and fasten it at the neck. When a cradle Spit, of which the engraving below shows the form, and which opens with a joint to receive the roast, is not at hand, a bottle-jack will be found more convenient than any other for holding the turkey; and after the hook of this is passed through the neck, it must be further supported by a string running across the back and under the points of the skewer which confines the pinions to the hook; for, otherwise, its weight would most probably cause it to fall.
Flour it well, place it far from the fire until it is heated through, and baste it plentifully and incessantly with butter. An hour and three quarters will roast it well. Break and boil down the bones for gravy in a pint and a half of water, with a little salt, a few slices of celery, a dozen corns of pepper, and a branch or two of parsley. Brown gently in a morsel of good butter, a couple of ounces of lean ham, add to them a slight dredge of flour, and a little cayenne, and pour to them the broth from the bones, after it has boiled an hour, and been strained and skimmed; shake the stewpan well round, and stew the gravy until it is wanted for table; clear it entirely from fat; strain, and serve it very hot.
The turkey may be partially filled with the forcemeat No. 1 or 3, of Chapter VI (Forcemeats)., and the sausage-meat may then be placed on either side of it.
Hen turkey between 7 and 8 lbs. weight, boned, filled with sausage-meat, 3 to 4 lbs.; or with forcemeat No. 1, or with No. 3, Chapter VI (Forcemeats)., 1 lb. (that is to say, 1 lb. of bread-crumbs, and the other ingredients in proportion.) Sausage-meat, 2 to 3 lbs. roasted 1 3/4 hour.
When a common spit is used for the turkey, it must be fastened to, and not put upon it.
Bread sauce can be served with the bird, or not, at pleasure.
It will be found an improvement to moisten the sausage-meat with one or two spoonsful of water: it should be finely minced, well spiced, and mixed with herbs, when the common forcemeat is not used in addition. In preparing it a pound and a quarter of fat should be mixed with each pound of the lean.
To give the turkey a very good appearance, the breast may be larded by the directions of page 139.