Low allergen, mostly-AIP totally Paleo Turkey Dinner

I did this back in 2014 when I still had energy.

Grain-free, bean-free, gluten-free of course, egg, dairy, soy and nut free. Does contain coconut but wouldn’t have to.  AIP is anti-inflammatory protocol that is more restrictive than standard paleo but may help reduce inflammatory load.


Turkey: We used a 12 pound bird and a meat thermometer, so I have no idea about cooking times. I started prep around 3 pm, it was in the oven by 4, we ate by 7 and the turkey had some time to rest.

1 turkey, fresh or completely defrosted. We used a brined turkey from Trader Joe’s.

12 cooked breakfast sausages (if AIP paleo, please use AIP sausage)

1-2 8 oz packages peeled chestnuts. These are not strictly AIP due to their starch content, but most people don’t have enough exposure to them to develop much sensitivity, so they make an excellent sub for bread in a in-the-bird stuffing for a special occasion Riced cauliflower can also work well as a grain/bread substitute

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 of one onion, chopped into large chunks (smaller is fine, just not necessary)

1/2 bottle of sulfite free organic wine

About 8 oz of bacon fat. (Buy “ends and pieces” bacon from Trader Joe’s, render the fat out at a low enough temp that it doesn’t smoke, save the bacon bits. Slice the brick of ends and pieces if the pieces are too large, before cooking, and they’ll render faster. Do this the day before.)  If you can do dairy, butter or Ghee can be used.

About 6-8 slices of bacon that you tolerate well.

Herbs if desired (but the sausage does most of the seasoning internally): Parsley, italian seasoning, poultry seasoning or herbes de provence.)

Smoked or regular salt

Some carrots or a cooking rack

Preheat the oven to 425 (even if it’s a convection oven…)

Blend any dry spices into a fine powder with the smoked salt before starting. In the cold bacon fat, mash your seasonings and any finely diced fresh herbs you feel like using. Gordon Ramsey recommends lemon zest, we skip that as Shiny does not tolerate citrus well. Mix the fat well. Then use a finger to loosen the turkey skin from the breast–your goal is to loosen the skin without making big holes, you don’t want the fat running out. Do it from both the neck and the butt side of the bird. Put a big lump of herbed bacon fat in each part of the skin that is loosened, and then from the outside massage it flat so the entire skin of the breast has bacon fat under it. Rub the bird inside and out with a thin layer of the fat. Put the bird in a roaster on a bed of whole carrots or a wire rack to keep it up off the bottom of the roaster. Pour the wine over the bird–it is mostly there to keep things moist.   Season the bird with smoked salt, brush with olive oil.

Note: It is easy to do a pork-free, dairy free turkey, this is just one way to do it that is tasty.

Mix the chestnuts, celery, diced sausages and onion chunks together and stuff the bird *only halfway up* so you leave some airspace above it for the turkey to cook more evenly.  The stuffing is mostly there to flavor the turkey and juices so you get a good gravy. You can add fresh sage and other herbs if you desire, to this mix, for the same purpose.

You can put the rest of the onion, the neck, and the giblets in the wine around the turkey. I use a very large roaster, there’s plenty of room.

Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thigh without touching the bone.

Roast at 425 until the thigh is at 160-170 or so, then turn the oven down to 325 and cover the top with a few slices of bacon to keep it from overbrowning. Your goal is 180 in the thigh and 165 in the stuffing. It can rest for a while on the counter after it hits temp.

While that is cooking: peel and cut into chunks sweet potatoes and regular potatoes separately. As a sub for potatoes you can also do cauliflower or mashed rutabagas.  White potatoes aren’t AIP paleo, but the kids like ’em. First boil the sweet potatoes, then remove them from the water and you can do the regular potatoes in the same pot.


Sweet potatoes:

Super simple: Boil chunks or bake whole, then (removing skin if baked whole) mash (I used an immersion blender) with coconut cream or coconut creamer or coconut milk to taste. Butter is also do-able. Alternative might be the juice and zest of one orange, some ginger and cinnamon, and coconut oil or butter to taste.


Mashed potato: Mash with fork. Use broth and use a mixer to blend if you want them whipped.


Green beans: Many options… this time I cooked some bacon (but you could use bacon grease and your leftover bacon bits from the bacon you rendered for the turkey) in a wide pan, and then dumped in dried minced garlic, chopped mushrooms, smoked salt and a pound or so of rinsed, trimmed green beans. Simmered with some water until mostly tender and the water was almost gone, and then added a bit of coconut creamer from Trader Joe’s. That’s totally 100% optional. I didn’t bother rinsing the pan when the beans were done, and cooked the gravy in the same pan.


Gravy: Using a baster or ladle, get as much of the drippings as you can out of the roaster pan while the bird is almost done. You want the fattiest stuff first.  You will need:


Turkey drippings

Tapioca starch or arrowroot, whichever you tolerate best. If you do okay with rice, you can use rice flour. You’ll need a bunch of it, how much depends on how much fat there is and how much gravy you want to make

Broth or stock or cooking water from the sweet potatoes or white potatoes if you tolerate those. You’ll need a lot of this stuff. I used organic chicken stock from Costco because we didn’t happen to have homemade handy.

A gravy separator cup is helpful for this but not strictly necessary. You want the fat and drippings to separate as completely as possible, so if you don’t have a separator, you should spoon the fat carefully off the drippings into a wide pan with a decent lip. Sautee pans work pretty well, as do wide, shallow pots. Heat the fat and sprinkle starch over them until you have a fairly thick mix, almost crumbly, and stir constantly until it looks like darkening sand. You want it to brown to golden, but not much farther. Slowly add the non-fatty drippings and keep stirring constantly to avoid lumps of starch. There will be some. An immersion blender can take care of that later. Keep adding and stirring or whisking, making sure you’re getting things up off the bottom constantly. You should get it to the point where it is a little more liquid than you want it to end up–it will thicken a lot. When the turkey comes out of the pan, whisk in the rest of the drippings and use an immersion blender if you want things smoother.


Cranberry sauce: Add cranberries to a pot, pour in some maple syrup and a bit of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon. Simmer and stir occasionally until it looks saucy and almlost all the berries have burst. About 10 minutes usually does it. Use the smallest pot you can get away with and still stir without sloshing.

Posted in Food, Recipes.

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