Paper Bag Roast Turkey


This week on sideDish, our special bonus podcast, Diep Tran talks about her Vietnamese family’s tradition of turkey as a side dish.  Today, Diep makes a turkey for her Thanksgiving table, but she uses Asian spices.  She also uses a really interesting method of roasting the turkey – a paper bag.  She got the idea from a Saveur article on Mama Lou, or LouElla Hill, a Memphis chef.

I’ve got the Saveur recipe after the jump.  Here are a few other links:

Mama Lou’s Roast Turkey with Corn Bread Dressing

1  10-lb fresh turkey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp paprika
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, scrubbed and roughly chopped
6 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup Chicken Stock or turkey stock

4 Tablespoons butter
4 celery ribs, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
7 cups crumbled Corn Bread
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2–2 1⁄2 cups Chicken Stock or turkey stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. For the turkey: Preheat oven to 375°. Rinse turkey well, pat dry with a clean cloth, and sprinkle inside and out with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place onions, celery, and carrots inside cavity. Tuck wings under back and tie legs together with kitchen string. Rub 4 tbsp. of the butter all over turkey. Put a paper bag in a roasting pan; rub inside of bag thoroughly with remaining 2 tbsp. butter. Place turkey breast side up in bag, with cavity facing out. Pour stock into cavity, fold bag closed, and cook 2 1⁄2 hours. Leave turkey in bag at least 30 minutes before carving. Reserve pan juices for gravy.

2. For the dressing: Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add celery, garlic, onions, and carrots. Cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

3. Combine corn bread, bread crumbs, sage, thyme, and poultry seasoning in a large bowl. Add vegetables and 1 cup stock; mix well. Stir in remaining stock to taste, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer dressing to 9″ × 13″ baking dish, put in the oven when turkey is in its last 30 minutes of roasting, and bake until golden brown.

  • Rattina

    I've done the turkey-in-a-bag very successfully years ago and so have a number of friends I know, However, we have stopped doing this since "learning" (don't know exactly where this info came from) that the paper bags in grocery stores and supermarkets are now treated with something that you don't want in or on your turkey. I don't know what that "something" is but I don't want to risk it. I'm sure you can probably buy special "roasting bags" but I have no idea what they're made of as I've never tried it. The old fashioned paper bag worked so well. Does anyone have further info on this?

  • Martha J.Kelley

    I worry that the chemical components from both cooking bags(roasting baga) and aluminum foil(elevated levels are associated w/neurological disorders)are also hazardous. So, since everything's hazardous, think I'll just concentrate on not burning the bird. Whattaya gonna do?(please pray for the families of everyone missing someone this Thankgiving.) and thank whoever it is you thank for everything and everybody you have. I woke up this am. I'm good. Peace out, Martha J. Kelley