A gluten-free dairy-free corn-free generally hypoallergenic vegan-friendly Thanksgiving is actually very straightforward. Cranberry sauce is generally hypoallegenic and vegan. Frozen peas are hypoallergenic and vegan. Garlic mashed potatoes, creamy mashed sweet potatoes, and cole slaw can all easily be made hypoallergenic and vegan even by someone who really doesn’t know what she is doing.
The turkey and the stuffing pose a few challenges, but vegan stuffing can be done, and vegan apple pie and ice cream round out the dinner.
Every year my husband wants to know when the turkey will be ready. Every year I tell him that I don’t know and that is why we have appetizers. The issue with turkey is that it is done when it is done and the thighs are done about an hour after the breast is done.
There are several well known solutions to this problem. You can deep fry the turkey. You can butcher the turkey and cook it as parts. You can brine the turkey for a day ahead of time. You can baste the turkey, or you can do what my mother always did and drown the white meat in gravy so you don’t notice how dry it got.
I hate all of these options. I lack the upper body strength to deep fry the turkey and you truly do need peanut oil and a lot of space for that job. I am not wrestling an 18 pound turkey into an enormous thing of brine in my refrigerator a day ahead of time. That is too hard and too messy and my refrigerator is very full right before a holiday. I do not baste. We have the holidays in Florida each year and the last thing we need is for that oven door to be opened every 30 minutes so I can baste the turkey. I will butcher a five pound chicken into parts. I am not going to butcher a turkey. That thing is too big and it is just asking for trouble to wrestle it with a house knife.
So what else is there? There is the counter-intuitive easy way. The turkey can be powdered.
I am certain that I got this idea from Martha Stewart about 15 years ago. The idea, which is oddly brilliant is that you cover the entire turkey with a seasoned powder. This flavors it and combines with the fat in the turkey to create a seal which causes the hot juices inside the turkey to stay inside the turkey, boiling on top of the breast meat yet under the skin thereby slowing the cooking time of the turkey breast and yielding moist meat, an evenly cooked bird, and a crisp brown skin. I used to use regular wheat flour but over the years have created a gluten-free, corn free blend that works even better.
Please note that this wet dressing in the turkey is part of the recipe as I adapted it. The wet dressing helps the turkey to self-baste. If you are freaked out about salmonella what you can do is bake a separate tray of dressing for that day (same oven and temperature) outside of the turkey and then when you pull this dressing out of the turkey, rebake it in a pan until it gets hot enough to be safe. In our house leftover dressing has a very short shelf life so this works fine. If you have vegan family members this also allows you to have a vegan dressing for them without denying the carnivores in the group their meaty dressing.
1 raw gluten free additive free turkey (I use about an 18 lb turkey) giblets removed. Don’t laugh, they inject turkeys with MSG sometimes.
1 cup tapioca starch
3 tbsp Bell’s Seasoning (I use Bell’s Seasoning in everything)
1 tsp salt, preferably extra fine
1 tsp paprika (adds color and a bit of heat)
1 room temperature recipe of extra moist dressing (different post)
1 large foil lined roasting pan
1 roasting rack large enough to hold turkey
Measuring cups and spoons
Skewers to hold turkey neck skin shut
Take turkey out of refrigerator and rinse it thoroughly removing giblet bag from interior. Reserve giblets for giblet gravy
Stuff turkey with wet room temperature dressing. Be sure to stuff the neck as well, pinning it shut with a skewer.
Pat turkey skin dry with paper towels
Put turkey on rack front side down
Wash and dry your hands thoroughly
“Powder” the back side of the turkey, making sure all parts of the turkey are covered
Flip turkey so front side is up
“Powder” front of turkey with seasoned powder again getting it into all crevices
Move oven rack to lowest level in oven
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit
Put meat thermometer in the middle of the stuffing and make sure it does not touch any bones
Cook turkey at 425 degrees for 45 minutes
Turn heat down to 325 degrees and cook for 20 minutes per pound
When thermometer registers 150 to 155 degrees remove turkey from oven
Let turkey rest for thirty minutes
Save the bones, uneaten skin and grease at the bottom of the pan for stock. Trust me.