Christmas Turkey ~1855

Boiled Turkey and Gravy Recipe.

This recipe is taken from Soyer’s shilling cookery for the people.  The cooking method is ingenious, as it’s a one-pot Christmas dinner. Included: stuffing, gravy, and soup! I love that it adds bacon to the pot for both salt and flavor.

Has anyone tried boiling a whole turkey?

I may have to try this with a chicken…


Soyer's Shilling Cookery for the People

More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks

8 thoughts on “Christmas Turkey ~1855

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  1. I vote for chicken, too. Gotta have a nice, crispy golden skin on a turkey. When my daughter was young, maybe 5, someone gave us a skinned turkey to BBQ. Looked creepy, but ended up tasty.

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  2. Reblogged this on richwrapper and commented:
    boiling a turkey for The Holidays. I do it to their chicken cousins all the time: actually I have learned to poach…immerse bird in roiling boiling water in largest heavy pot, bring back to a boil. Turn off, cover, let sit an hour. Take temp at breast and thigh: should read appropriate 165F and 185F, respectively. Remove, strip carcass. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, carcass to the broth and bring to a strong simmer. Skim. When sufficiently done to your liking, add a pound or so of washed chicken feet to add gelatin to the resultant stock. Now, I know what not to expect were I to try turkey. My 25-quart All Clad might protest too much and go off sulking to the Shakespeare shelving.

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    1. Delightful! It sounds like your process turns it into a thick soup. Yum. I’ll add chicken legs/thighs to the stock pot and slowly bring it to a boil. Never added it directly to boiling water because it turns rubbery. Your technique of turning the water off I’m sure leaves it tender and moist. I always have trouble stripping the chicken from the bones though. Hot chicken parts everywhere. If you accidentally drop it back in the broth, then that’s flying everywhere. Thank goodness I wear glasses as protective facial gear… Thanks for stopping by I’m going to try this with a whole chicken. You’re absolutely right, though, you’d need a massive pot for a turkey!


  3. Enter the large-capacity stainless steel (stripping) bowl( a smaller bowl for the flesh is discussed just below).. And, yes, it is quite hot, but the wait time gives ample opportunity to let the stock rest for some preliminary skimming and rescuing fallen-in wingtips, etc. The technique I first encountered reading the late and now-disgraced Jeff Smith (Frugal Gourmet), and was rewarded by conversations with sister-in-law Hsu Mul Lin (Margaret Richards) who said that yes, the boil-n-steep method was a legitimate Mandarin (at least) technique. I keep a smaller – not necessarily SS but often a grandmother’s heirloom ceramic piece to keep the skinned and boned smaller hunks away from the deconstruction going on just next bowl. I believe a 10-pounder turkey might fit in my huge All Clad – sans triple bonding on the sides but a massive aluminum disc at bottom…I think it’s 25 quarts: use it for making boiled my-style spicy southern peanuts (Goobers, or Goober Peas). Once the second-boil – to immediate strong simmer has done in the feet, I scoop them out limp and ready to reward a few dogs after I remove the few dangerous bones by the simple expedient of forming a small circle of finger and thumb on one hand and drawing the skin and remaining fat off with as I grip the toes with the other hand. I then refrigerate the enriched stock after taking out the veg and the tablespoons (two treats me kindly peppercorns and the tied up parsley stems and whatever else in the garden fits. Leek leaves and wild onion and wild garlic leaves are especially nice. A couple of bay leaves.
    After refrigeration the fat congeals and if you desire seals the contents in the original 12- or 16-quart heavy-duty pot. I break the cold fat into chunks, freezer-bag for later use.
    The flesh makes a wonderful salad or sandwich and sometimes I take the trimmings, add the heart and gizzard and neckmeat to a fresh ginger stirfry done as a crispy patty.
    The stock which sometimes jells even at room temperature (and when so) makes an interesting architectural cube-of-stock salad base with thin-sliced radish and lengthwise curly-cued green onion and blanched carrots cut in decorative rings. But that’s for impressing friends with how they are “worthed.” I freeze most of the stock for additions to other soups, making rice and even when feeling kinky mashed potatoes.
    I will be stopping by to read and steal many more such wonderful receipts. Thanks for such a fine site.
    J Richards

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm… somehow I missed the whole Jeff Smith saga, but we can legitimately attribute this particular cooking method to others that came before, no? (and if it tastes most excellent, well then…) I believe we own the same All Clad, same aluminum disk. I use mine for canning and it’s designed as a pressure cooker, not that I would try to pressure cook a turkey. It’s brilliant that when you boil the bird you get stock that you can save. I hadn’t thought of that added benefit. When I roast a full chicken, I get the same gelatinous stock. It is most rich and wonderful for soups and gravies. Just threw the turkey bones in the crockpot over the weekend for stock. Came out beautifully. Stop by whenever you can! Feel free to take – it’s a fun little hobby. Cheers! Erin

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I too use my big-un for canning. But mostly it sits quietly atop the tubular kitchen shelving intimidating teh smaller pots and pans. An excellent indoor substitute for the venerable lobster/crab/shirmp/mud-bug boil as well as a loaner for my younger brother’s culinary adventures in hosting his daughter’s former high school’s forensic team and some all-faculty cookouts. But he ain’t a-gonna get any of my Le Cruset – I have only one big casserole/stewing pot of any size but the rest are treasures indeed. My nieces – one a PhD opera soprano and the otehr a PhD midievalist candidate midway through her dissertation neither have time to cook or as I say play in the kitchen. Stripped turkey I too turn to stock, and my pork stock makes me happy, but it is the veal knuckle and beef knuckle and femur and neck bones that take a three-day excursion in drinking one bottle of wine a day while three go into the reduction which eventually produces one quart or so of demiglace and a near three-quarter gallon of beef stock with a final dip into the pool to make beef broth. The demi and stock muchly get frozen in my late parents’ big freezer and I toss cubes of demi or stock into soups, stews and gravies. But I must confess I almost enjoy the cleanup after as the cooking: and it provides a quarterly excuse to field-strip said kitchen and scare the jibbers out of the twin stainless sinks with much banging and alternating oldies rock and oldier classical which helps keep my door buzzer unbuzzed. I shall drop by as often as I can, Erin. I shall freely take. I think well of any hobby which provides me fodder and dripped-upon shirts. My mom’s mother’s (from Vienna) big wooden ladel-spoon with the burned-in thumb-rest enjoys stirring the pot almost as much as I. But I get better tastes out of its near full-cup bowl. My best to you and your site, Erin. I have already received several likes and a few reblogs on you recipes at both WordPress and Facebook.

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