Monday, November 16, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought that I would share my recipe for the best turkey ever! Ever since I found this recipe, I have been cooking the turkey. It produces the most moist and flavorful bird ever.

I think that the perfect turkey starts with a brine. For those that don't know, a brine is a salt water solution that you put food in. For Mr Turkey, it is a way to flavor the meat and keep it moist.

You will need a 14-16lb thawed turkey. I usually use 19-20lbs because I like to have lots of leftovers. Just increase the amount of spices in the brine if you choose to use a larger turkey. Here is the recipe and instructions for the brining process.

For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon chicken stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger (if you can't find candied ginger, fresh ginger works too, just peel it)
1 gallon iced water

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

Now onto the turkey itself. Another thing that must be known, is that if you want a moist and delicious turkey, never stuff it, NEVER. Here is what you do instead.

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola Oil

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.
Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Here is one more thing that you can do, to make your turkey sinfully good. Make an herb butter and rub it under the skin of the turkey. What I do is take an Italian Herb seasoning packet that you make salad dressing out of and mix it with 2 sticks of soften butter. Then then put the whole mixture in bag and let it set in the fridge. You want it to get cold again.

Just before the turkey is ready to go into the over, I cut slices of the butter and slide it under the skin (aka between the skin and the meat). As the turkey cook, the butter melts and almost bastes the meat in herby butter goodness. It also makes for the best pan dripping every and therefore the best gravy.

There that is how I make our turkey. Now if you will excuse me, all this talk and looking at my recipes had made me hungry. I am thinking that I need to go to the store and get our turkey. Yum! I can't wait.

Truth be told these are not original recipes created by me. I have combined a lot of trick that I have learned from the lovely Food Network Chefs.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Replace the chicken stock with apple cider and you essentially have my brine. I love the cider flavor in the turkey, especially the leftovers!! This year, I'm also going to try something I saw on "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" this weekend: I'm going to brine it for 2 days, take it out and prep on Wednesday, set it in the fridge over night to dry out a little and then cook on Thursday.