Need tips on turkey for 85!
Don't ask me how insane I am to have agreed, but I am producing a turkey dinner for 85 people. Alone. One oven. One fool. it's gotta be real - no turkey loaf in other words!
So here are some questions for the experts out there:
a) what poundage of turkey do I need in total (group is coed 50-50 but the males, youngish, are pretty voracious eaters)?
b) my plan is to roast one turkey a night for a week (depending on answer to (a) - remove and freeze stuffing, carve the meat and freeze it (until second last night before this fool's feast when I will simply refrigerate it wrapped same way) in double layer of heavy duty sealable plastic bags - any issues with that?
c) my thought was on the day (having moved the food to the venue - again, one oven, 4 stovetop burners) - to let the frozen turkey defrost, then put it, still bagged, in gently heated water to finish defrosting and warm up some without drying out. This saves me from having to save turkey broth for warming it in oven which will be overcrowded anyway, which broth I'd rather use for gravy which I will concentrate, freeze and bring on the day. Not worried about the gravy - but any comment on the defrosting/warming method?
d) i don't see a huge problem letting stuffing defrost, throwing some gravy over it and gently warming it over a hot top (additional feature of the stove) - do you?
e) To make sufficient taters, I am torn first as to quantity (do you think 40 lbs or could 30 do?) I make a mean mashed potato - I could casserole them and reheat in oven last minutish. Comments?
f) Beans Almandine is the requested veg - do I need to do more than bring beans to boil and let sit in said water, burner off, for 4-5 mins - then drain, add the butter, lemon and almond slivers, pour back into pot and hold, covered? What poundage of beans will I need?
Thanks folks: please don't suggest I need a shrink - I know it already lol!
I'm wondering if my turkey cooking method would help you. I posted about it a few days ago:
If you have the turkeys cut in pieces like that, laid out on a pan of stuffing, you could cook at least 2 in your oven at once. Actually, if you used the foil turkey pans maybe you could fit more than one bird in each. This method also takes half the time to cook as a whole turkey, and you get the lovely turkey drippings in your stuffing without having to worry about the safety of the stuffing. You might be able to cook all the turkeys a day ahead and not worry about freezing/defrosting.
For the gravy I'd just do a big pot of giblet gravy, or simmer turkey wings to make broth for whatever gravy you like.
*Butterball has a little turkey calculator on the side of this page to help you figure out how many pounds to buy. You'll need a bare minimum of 85 lbs, yikes!
a) Okay, so you're looking at 1-2 pounds of turkey per person. You could go one pound if you did all hotel style turkey breasts...then it's all meat, no bone. That could be expensive, unless you can get a deal at BJ's or something. If doing regular turkeys, lean toward 2 lbs per person
b)Consider asking a restaurant with commercial ovens to roast your turkeys en masse. Some will do this for you, particularly mom and pop places. You can pick up the day before, so turkey won't have to freeze, then thaw. Alternately, recruit family/neighbors for the use of their ovens...do all the turkey, ideally, on one day. JMHO.
c) does the venue have outlets? Do you have crockpots? I'd slice the turkey and warm it in gravy in crockpots, and do the same in the oven in baking dishes/disposable foil roasters.
d) I'm squeamish about letting stuffing (or anything) defrost in anything but a fridge. I'd go crockpot on this...do it the night before, then warm. Figure on 1/4 lb of beans and a1/2 lb of potatoes per person. Make extra stuffing. Everyone loves it.
e) are any adults other than you going to be in attendance? Delegate veg duty to them, and have them bring crockpots (and powerstrips!). Low cost, and more equitable.