my father's roasted turkey

It's almost upon us.  Thanksgiving!  Greek-Americans adore this day.  You couple all the beautiful American traditions with your spanakopites and tiropites and you end up with a decadent feast.

I am in London and celebrating with dear friends from my earlier years in Oxford.  Here is my favorite turkey recipe (his words exactly) and stuffing by my father, Taki.

My Baba's Roasted Turkey

Defrost the turkey in cold water. When is completely defrosted, drain it and rub it with salt, pepper and Bell’s turkey seasoning.

Then, there are two ways to cook it. One way is to roast the turkey as is and bake the stuffing in a separate pan in the same oven. This is the way that your Mother cooks it. The other way is to stuff the cavity and roast it all together.

Method 1:
Roast The turkey separate from stuffing and bake stuffing in the oven.
As mentioned above, you rub the turkey outside and inside the cavity with salt, pepper and Bell’s turkey seasoning, brushing the skin with fresh butter, which has been already melted, and then you brush with a lot of olive oil and you place it in a Reynolds oven bag. Seal the bag and bake it in the oven at 325 F. Make sure that you fasten the neck skin to the back of the skewer, folding the wings across the back with tips touching, and tucking the drumsticks under the band of skin at the tail (or tie or skewer to tail).

6-8 lbs needs 3.5 hrs
8-12 lbs: 4.5 hrs
12-16 lbs:  5.5 hours
16-20 lbs: 6.5 hours

If you don’t have an oven bag, you can place on top of it aluminum foil, and every half an hour you just poor with a spoon juice from the pan to keep the turkey moist. Do not put water and don’t cover.

Stuffing: One 2 lbs bag of stuffing (roasted cubes of bread with seasoning)

1 cup of very small celery, diced
1 cup of green pepper, diced
1 big onion, diced
1 big carrot, shredded
½ cup raisins
1 lb chestnuts (boil them and peel them)

You place ingredients in the pan and add 1 cup of chicken broth. Place pan in the oven at 300 F and bake it for ½ hour. You check it to be moist and it should not get dry.


You fill the wishbone and the cavity area with the stuffing. Same recipe as above, but do not add the chicken broth. Do not pack the stuffing because it will expand. If there is stuffing left, then you put it in a pan, adding the chicken broth and baking it in the oven at 300 F for ½ hr.

The stuffed turkey is then put in the oven bag and roasted in the oven as mentioned before. Make sure that you tie the bag tight to keep the moisture. If there is no bag then you cover it with aluminum foil and keep the turkey moist every ½ hr with the juice from the pan.

For more questions call your Mother. 

Happy and enjoyable Thanksgivings.

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