Friday, November 26, 2010

Boiled Turkey Dinner

On one episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network, Guy Fieri visited Landmark Diner in Charlotte, North Carolina.  One of their specialties is turkey and stuffing. As you can see from watching this YouTube video, they boil their turkey instead of roasting.

In Charlotte, NC, Guy pays a visit to the Greek family-run Landmark Diner.

For Thanksgiving this year, it was going to be just me, Linda, and my son and his wife; so, I setout to try to duplicate this recipe.  One challenge is that the chef showed what ingredients he used – but no clue as to quantities.  I, of course, also wanted to scale it down to a single turkey.

One problem I anticipated is that the turkey stock is needed for the dressing and the gravy; I didn't want to boil the whole turkey so that the meat was done before I could even start making the dressing and gravy - I wanted to be able to time it so that the turkey was ready about the same time as the rest of the dinner. To accomplish this, I decided to separate the breast meat from the turkey carcass so as to be able to make the turkey stock the day before.

Of course, I can't resist adding my own tweaks; so, I decided to roast the turkey carcass (sans breast meat) before making the stock; I applied a dry rub to the raw turkey breast as it sat overnight in the refrigerator; and, I included thyme, dried cranberries and pecans in the dressing so as to make more of a complete turkey dinner.

Of course, you can't have a turkey dinner without a sweet potatoe dish of some sort; so, for dessert, I made Bobby Flay’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise; although, I didn’t have a vanilla bean nor do I keep bourbon and/or apple schnapps on hand; so, I used 1 tsp of brandy extract in the pudding and a ½ tsp vanilla extract in the Crème Anglaise.  I also chopped 2 apples and microwaved for 2 minutes then pressed with a potato ricer to extract the ½ apple juice for the Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce (I thought using fresh apples might impart more of an apple flavor than if I just used store bought apple juice). If I made this again then I think I might try using 3 or 4 apples to get a bit more apple flavor.

So, here is my version of a Boiled Turkey Dinner. The result is a moist, succulent, and flavorful turkey with gravy and dressing that is to die for.


  • Turkey, 12-14 pound
  • 1 large Onion, quartered
  • 3 stalks Celery, roughly chopped
  • 3 Carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 full head garlic cut in ½
  • 1 Tbl kosher salt
  • ½ tsp whole black Peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Oil (enough to coat turkey breast)
  • Water to cover
Turkey Rub
  • 2 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
Day before
  1. Cut up turkey into parts and debone breast from turkey keeping skin on breast
  2. Dry boned turkey breast and rub with vegetable oil, then sprinkle rub over turkey breast including under the skin. Tie breast with twine wrapping in skin and store in refrigerator in heavy ziplock bag overnight.
  3. Put remainder of turkey carcass into oven and roast at 350 degrees for 2 to 2½ hours. During the last hour, add the vegetables (onion, celery, carrots, and garlic) to the roasting pan. Remove thigh meat and save for another use (optional)
  4. Put everything except boned breast meat into a large stock pot and boil for about 5 hours
  5. Strain turkey stock. Reserve stock for making gravy and dressing. Reserve remaining stock to boil turkey breast.
Day of
  1. Add boned breast meat to reserved stock, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 1 hour in a covered pan
  2. Turn off heat and leave breast to cool in stock for another hour
  3. Leave breasts in stock to keep warm until ready to serve (reheat if necessary)


The gravy can be made the day before using reserved turkey stock

  • 4 Tbl Butter
  • 4 Tbl Flour
  • 4 Cups reserved turkey stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in sauce pan
  2. Add flour to melted butter and cook for a bit until starting to turn light brown
  3. Add turkey stock and whisk to fully incorporate flour/butter rue into stock. Cook, stirring frequently, to thicken, if necessary, add salt and pepper to taste  


  • ¼ pound Butter (1 stick)
  • 1 large Onion
  • 4 stalks Celery
  • 4 Carrots
  • 2 Cups peeled and chopped apples (about 4 apples)
  • ½ Cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp Rubbed Sage
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Poultry seasoning
  • 1 kosher tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper, ground
  • 16 cups Bread cubes, toasted (1½ - 2 loaves)
  • 2 Eggs slightly beaten
  • 4-5 cups reserved turkey stock
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
Day before (optional)
  1. Finely chop onion, celery, and carrot
  2. Cook onion, celery, and carrot in butter until onion starts to carmelize
  3. Add chopped apples, brown sugar, and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg garlic, sage, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning) and continue cooking until apples are soft.
  4. If done the day before then store the vegetable mixture in refrigerator until ready to use.
Day of
  1. Add reserved turkey stock and eggs to breadcrumbs, it should be fairly moist, but not soggy.
  2. Fold in vegetable mixture, dried cranberries and chopped pecans and mix well
  3. Spread bread mixture into a large flat baking dish, like a lasagna or 9x13 dish
  4. Bake in oven covered for 1 hour. Remove cover and bake for another 30 minutes to crisp top


  1. Cut dressing into squares.  Remove skin and slice turkey breast
  2. Place a square of dressing on plate and spoon some gravy on top
  3. Place warm turkey slices on top of dressing and cover with gravy. Dip turkey slices in hot turkey stock to warm if necessary.


  • When I made the dressing I used a can of store bought apple pie filling. I like the sweetness of the apples in the dressing; but, I thought it was a little two much since a can of pie filling is about 21 ounces; so, I've adjusted this recipe to incorporate just a couple of cups of apples plus sugar and spices typically found in an apple pie.

1 comment:

  1. I saw that episode tonight and love the idea of boiling the turkey. Too bad that video didn't show the turkey. Was yours good? I want to try it.