Monday, February 7, 2011

Turkey Time

I will never claim to be a great cook, I can follow a recipe and use my crockpot very effectively.  That said, I make an awesome turkey.  Do you know that I put my turkey in the brine at the beginning of my 3 hour labor with Audrey.  I had her the day before Thanksgiving and I wanted to make sure it was done right!  Granted the contractions at that point were absolutely no big deal but.. still makes for a good story.  Oh why am I talking about turkey? Well my Mom earned a free one and gave it to us, so I needed to use it up!  So we had a superbowl turkey with our neighbors.

So how do I make my Turkey?  Well I do follow a recipe, for the most part.  Through out the years that I have been doing it, I tend to add a bit more herbs then called for and experiment with the ratio of things that go into the brine.  I also add a bit more herbs and broth then called for in the bottom of the turkey pan and make slits in the turkey skin prior to cooking- this I believe adds to more absorption of the flavors.

So here is my attempt at showing you the recipe like on many of the cooking websites.

These are the ingrediants for the Brine.  See recipe below.  I used both regular apple cider and cranberry apple cider.  I add a bit more ginger then suggested and crush my whole allspice with a rolling pin.  I don't have one of those fancy graters that would help with that!

Of course you will need these too!  I used a 14 lb turkey which I think is a great size.  If you get it too big, the turkey really does not cook as well (that said my Thanksgiving turkeys are sometimes very large).

Enlist a helper with a wet head who will ask you many questions like, is that the turkey's hand? (pointing to the ginger) and does the turkey have a butt?  It isn't a real turkey right Momma? 
Put everything in a big pot and bring to a boil, then cook for 5 min. until the salt and sugar dissolve.  After 5 min, I often turn off the burner and leave it there for about 5 more minutes and the remaining sugar and salt dissolve.
After you have rinsed the turkey, remove all of the lovely items inside and do what you want with them.  You will also need to remove that metal thingy in it.  Be sure to hide the neck part from your little helper as you don't really want to explain what that is just yet.  Stuff 2 oranges into the "butt" of the turkey as my helper said.  I cut my oranges in 1/8ths.  Now you need to get the big guy ready for the brine.  I put him in an oven bag inside of a garbage bag inside of a tall pot (we use a lobster pot).   You need to put in 6 cups of ice.  I surround the turkey with the ice so he sits up a bit.  The last thing you do is pour in the brine after it has cooled (I pour it in warm, but you can actualy make it the night prior and pour it in cold).

This is what it looks like all tied up and ready for your big strong husband to take it downstairs to the refrigerator in the basement.   You need to turn this bad boy a few times during the next 12 to 24 hours (the turkey, not the husband, though if you want to spin your husband around a few times go for it).

When you are ready to make a pie to go with the meal, ask your helper again who will feel that it is neccessary to dress up as a bug and dissapear for a very long time and then get mad at you because you kept making the pumpking pie instead of waiting for her.

I don't have pictures of the next part of the turkey making, just didn't get to that.  But follow the recipe and you should have success.  I used a disposable pan with one of those metal bases at the bottom (doesn't come with the pan, I have one and I don't know what it is called).  I put the broth + an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup.  I add quite a bit extra of the herbs then is called for and I cut the onion into 1/8ths or slightly smaller pieces.  I then put the mental base thing on top, then follow the directions.  I keep foil on the turkey until the last 15 min. of cooking.  My turkey takes longer then the recipe calls for, a lot longer, so don't be alarmed if that happens to you.


• 8 cups apple cider
• 2/3 cup kosher salt

• 2/3 cup sugar

• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

• 1 tablespoon whole allspice, coarsely crushed

• 8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger (I use about 10-12)

• 6 whole cloves (I use 10)

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed

• 2 oranges, quartered (I cut them in eighths)

• 6 cups ice

To prepare brine, combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.

Other Ingredients
• 4 garlic cloves
• 4 sage leaves

• 4 thyme sprigs

• 4 parsley sprigs
• 1 onion, quartered (I use eighths)
• 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

Please read under pictures because I alter the above some.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Brush turkey back with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 500º for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350º.

Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn turkey over (breast side up) using tongs. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 170º (make sure not to touch bone). (Shield the turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes.
Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for Savory Herb Gravy. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters. Place a turkey-sized oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey inside inner bag. Add cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

No comments: