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4 Intriguing Ways to Cook Turkey: Recipes From the 1800s

How will you be cooking your turkey this year? Chances are, you will be doing it the same way you and your family have always done it. However, this year has been very different from the previous ones, so perhaps it is time to embark on a new culinary adventure, as well? And by new, we mean the well-forgotten old. Spice up your holiday dinner without sacrificing tradition with these more-than-a-century-old recipes for ways to cook a turkey.

The following turkey recipes are from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management — an extensive guide to running a household in Victorian Britain, circa 1861. They include instructions for cooking boiled turkey, devilled turkey, hashed turkey, and roast turkey. You can’t get much better than a vintage recipe for a classic like this. Without further ado, we bring you recipes that will breathe new life into your holiday feast.

Boiled Turkey


  • whole turkey
  • beef sirloin
  • 2 onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bunch herbs
  • salt, ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ blade of mace
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 2 cups water


  1. Make forcemeat stuffing. Chop onions, carrot, and herbs and grind ½ blade of mace.
  2. Combine beef sirloin with the above ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stew for 2 hours until gravy is reduced by half and thickened.
  4. Strain the gravy and stir in flour; let cool. Set the solids aside.
  5. Skim off all the fat and add back the meat before heating it up again. Stuff the bird and proceed to boiling it.
  6. Boil the turkey. Once you have trussed and stuffed the bird, put it into enough hot water to cover it.
  7. Bring to a boil and remove all the scum.
  8. Let simmer for an hour and a half (more if the bird is bigger).

Deviled Turkey


  • 2 turkey legs
  • dried mustard
  • salt, ground black pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Core turkey legs with a sharp knife, season them with salt, pepper, cayenne, and dried mustard. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Broil until crisp and brown.
  3. Top with cold butter and serve hot.

Hashed Turkey


  • cold roast turkey leftovers
  • 1 onion
  • salt, ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 turnip
  • a blade of mace
  • herbs to taste
  • 1 tbsp mustard ketchup
  • 1 tbsp port
  • butter to taste
  • flour to taste


  1. Cut onion into slices, grind mace, chop carrot, turnip, and herbs.
  2. Cut the turkey into neat joints. Reserve the best pieces for the hash.
  3. Pop the remaining pieces into a pan combined with onion, carrot, turnip, mace, herbs, salt and pepper, and water.
  4. Let simmer for an hour.
  5. Strain the gravy, thicken it with butter and flour and add ketchup and port.
  6. Lay in the pieces of turkey to warm through.

Roast Turkey


  • whole turkey
  • beef sirloin
  • 2 onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bunch herbs
  • salt, ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ blade of mace
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 2 cups water


  1. Make forcemeat stuffing. Chop onions, carrot, and herbs and grind ½ blade of mace.
  2. Combine beef sirloin with the above ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stew for 2 hours until gravy is reduced by half and thickened.
  4. Strain the gravy and stir in flour; let cool. Set the solids aside.
  5. Skim off all the fat and add back the meat before heating it up again. Stuff the bird and proceed to roasting it.
  6. Roast the turkey. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  7. Having dressed and stuffed the turkey, fasten a sheet of buttered paper on to its breast and pop it in the oven. Cook 15 minutes for every pound of turkey (e.g., 8 lb turkey roasts for 2 hours).
  8. About 15 minutes before serving, remove the paper and dredge the bird lightly with flour.
    Put a piece of butter into a basting-ladle and baste the turkey with it as it melts.

We hope you enjoyed these four intriguing ways to cook a turkey, and you will attempt to one or two. Get inspired, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your fellow turkey-eaters! What’s a Thanksgiving dish you swear by? Please tell us in the comments, as we would love to know.


I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.

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