Recipes > Meat > Turkey > Boned Turkey

Boned Turkey


Get a turkey that has not been frozen (freezing makes it tear easily). See that every part is whole; one with a little break in the skin will not do. Cut off the legs, in the joints, and the tips of the wings. Do not draw the bird. Place it on its breast, and with a small, sharp boning knife, cut in a straight line through to the bone, from the neck down to that part of the bird where there is but little flesh, where it is all skin and fat. Begin at the neck, and run the knife between the flesh and the bones until you come to the wing. Then cut the ligaments that hold the bones together and the tendons that hold the flesh to the bones. With the thumb and fore-finger, press the flesh from the smooth bone. When you come to the joint, carefully separate the ligaments and remove the bone. Do not try to take the bone from the next joint, as that is not in the way when carving, and it gives a more natural shape to the bird. Now begin at the wish-bone, and when that is free from the flesh, run the knife between the sides and the flesh, always using the fingers to press the meat from the smooth bones, as, for instance, the breast-bone and lower part of the sides. Work around the legs the same as you did around the wings, always using great care at the joints not to cut the skin. Drawing out the leg bones turns that part of the bird inside out. Turn the bird over, and proceed in the same manner with the other side. When all is detached, carefully draw the skin from the breast-bone; then run the knife between the fat and bone at the rump, leaving the small bone in the extreme end, as it holds the skewers. Carefully remove the flesh from the skeleton, and turn it right side out again. Rub into it two tablespoonfuls of salt and a little pepper, and fill with dressing. Sew up the back and neck and then the vent. Truss the same as if not boned. Take a strong piece of cotton cloth and pin the bird firmly in it, drawing very tight at the legs, as this is the broadest place, and the shape will not be good unless this precaution be taken. Steam three hours, and then place on a buttered tin sheet, which put in a baking pan. Baste well with butter, pepper, salt and flour. Roast one hour, basting every ten minutes, and twice with stock. When cold, remove the skewers and strings, and garnish with aspic jelly, cooked beets and parsley.

To carve:

First cut off the wings, then about two thick slices from the neck, where it will be quite fat, and then cut in thin slices. Serve jelly with each plate.

Filling for a turkey weighing eight pounds:

  • flesh of 1 chicken weighing 4 pounds
  • 1 pound of clear veal
  • 1/2 pound of clear salt pork
  • 1 small capful of cracker crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cupful of broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoonfuls of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoonful of pepper
  • 1 teaspoonful of summer savory
  • 1 teaspoonful of sweet majoram
  • 1 teaspoonful of thyme
  • 1/2 spoonful of sage
  • 1 tablespoonful of capers (optional)
  • 1 quart of oysters (optional)
  • 2 tablespoonfuls of onion juice (optional)


Have the meat uncooked and free from any tough pieces. Chop very fine. Add seasoning, crackers, etc., mix thoroughly, and use. If oysters are used, half a pound of the veal must be omitted. Where one cannot eat veal, use chicken instead. Veal is recommended for its cheapness.

Why people choose boned turkey instead of a plain roast turkey or chicken, is not plain, for the flavor is not so good; but at the times and places where boned birds are used, it is a very appropriate dish. That is, at suppers, lunches and parties, where the guests are served standing, it is impracticable to provide anything that cannot be broken with a fork or spoon; therefore, the advantage of a boned turkey, chicken, or bird, is apparent.

One turkey weighing eight pounds before being boned, will serve thirty persons at a party, if there are, also, say oysters, rolls, coffee, ices, cake and cream. If the supper is very elaborate the turkey will answer for one of the dishes for a hundred or more persons.

If nothing more were gained in the boning of a bird, the knowledge of the anatomy and the help this will give in carving, pay to bone two or three chickens. It is advisable to bone at least two fowls before trying a turkey, for if you spoil them there is nothing lost, as they make a stew or soup.

Aspic jelly

  • 1 1/2 pints of clear stock—beef if for amber jelly, and chicken or veal if for white
  • 1/2 box of gelatine
  • white of 1 egg
  • 1/2 cupful of cold water
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large slice of onion
  • 12 pepper-corns
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • salt


Soak gelatine two hours in the cold water. Then put on with other ingredients, the white of the egg being beaten with one spoonful of the cold stock. Let come to a boil, and set back where it will just simmer for twenty minutes. Strain through a napkin, turn into a mould or shallow dish, and put away to harden. The jelly can be made with the bones of the turkey and chicken, by washing them, covering with cold water and boiling down to about three pints; by then straining and setting away to cool, and in the morning skimming off all the fat and turning off the clear stock. The bones may, instead, be used for a soup.


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