Food

The best way to cook up a juicy turkey is... with a pillowcase!

Mississippi Delta native Elizabeth Heiskell of the Debutante Farmer blog shares a unique method of cooking that's guaranteed to keep your turkey juicy and moist.

Delta Pillowcase Turkey

1 12-15 pound turkey

2 cups of red wine

6 whole peppercorns

2 tablespoons parsley plus 1 large handful

1 onion, roughly chopped

3 celery stalks

1 lemon, quartered

3 sticks butter

8 strips smoked bacon

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper

Wash turkey and remove giblets, neck, and anything else in it. Stuff the cavity with the onion, celery, lemon and handful of parsley. Dry the bird. Coat it with 1 stick of softened butter, and liberally salt and pepper the entire bird. Cut a white cotton sheet or pillowcase into a square big enough to wrap the entire turkey. Using a "V" shaped rack and roasted pan, place the cloth over the rack and put 4 strips of smoked bacon on the cloth. Place the turkey breast-side down on top of the bacon, put 4 strips on top of turkey, and fold the cloth up over the turkey so it is fully covered. Completely saturate the pillowcase and turkey with the red wine and 1 cup of chicken broth. This is very important! Then add the peppercorns, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme to the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the turkey into a 500-degree oven and roast for 20 minutes.

In a sauté pan, melt 2 sticks of butter with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and ½ cup chicken broth. After the turkey has roasted 20 minutes, liberally baste the turkey with the butter mixture. Again, make sure the entire cloth around the bird is saturated. Turn the oven to 300 degrees and continue roasting until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees in the breast and 180 degrees in the thigh. Baste the turkey every hour with pan juices, making sure the pillowcase remains saturated. If the pan dries, pour in equal parts red wine and chicken broth. Fifteen to 20 minutes before roasting time is up, remove the cloth and flip the turkey over so that the breast side is up. Brush the breast with melted butter so the skin will crisp and brown. Once the turkey is ready, remove the bird to a warm platter.

Million Dollar Gravy

2 cups juices from turkey pan

2 tablespoons softened butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Red wine, if needed

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Strain the juices left in the roasting pan. If necessary, add enough red wine to make at least 2 cups of liquid. Then pour it back into the pan. Place the pan over medium heat and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Blend softened butter and all-purpose flour to make a paste. Whisk into roasting pan and bring to a simmer. Continue to whisk until thick. Taste to adjust salt and pepper.

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