Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bestest Turkey Ever

STEP ONE: BRINE TIME
(makes enough for about a 15lb turkey)
1 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 TBSP peppercorns
1 bay leaf
5 fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup granulated garlic or 1/8 cup garlic powder
2+2 quarts water
6 cups ice

Mix seasonings and 2 quarts of the water in a stock pot. Heat to boiling and cool. Add 2 quarts cold water and ice. Let stand until cooled.

Rinse thawed turkey and remove neck and giblet pouch. Place in a brining bag inside a large bowl (to prevent spills). Pour liquid over turkey and let stand 12-24 hours.Drain turkey and rinse well. Set in a roaster.

STEP TWO: BIRD BUTTERIN'
1 stick butter
1 "poultry pack" from the fresh herb section (has about 10 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs rosemary, 1 bunch sage)
2 cloves garlic
zest of 1 lemon (save the rest for later)

Combine butter with herbs and seasoning in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and combined. Rub butter all over the turkey, under the skin and in the cavity. Set aside 4-12 hours.

STEP THREE: ROAST IT!
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 small onion
1 small apple
2 clementines or 1/2 an orange
1 lemon (saved from earlier zesting)
bay leaf

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut carrots, celery, onion, apple, and clementine/orange into chunks (about 1" pieces). Place loosely in cavity and around bird in the roasting pan. Squeeze lemon juice over bird and into cavity and place bay leaf inside. Roast 1 hour uncovered.

Reduce temp to 325. Remove turkey and baste with the juices. Continue to baste every hour and roast for about another 3-4 hours until internal temp reads 170 degrees (You may need 4-5 hours for a larger turkey, and 2-3 hours more for a smaller). Once skin becomes brown and crispy, tent with foil or put roaster cover on. Remove from oven and pour (if possible) or spoon the drippings from the pan. Let turkey and drippings stand about 20 minutes.

STEP FOUR: FINISH IT!
flour
turkey or chicken stock
salt and pepper

Once the drippings have separated, spoon the fat off the top and into a saucepan. Heat over medium until fat starts to fizzle and add about 1 TBSP flour for each TBSP fat, whisking constantly to make a smooth paste.  Add the rest of the juices whisking to combine, and slowly add broth until gravy reaches desired thinness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Carve turkey into slices and remove drums and wings. Serve with gravy on the side.

STEP FIVE: WASTE NOTHING
salt and pepper
coriander
curry
carrots
onions
celery
garlic
noodles or pasta

Following dinner, remove any remaining desired meat from the bones and place bones in a large stock pot. Cover with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to low-medium heat and cook overnight. Refrigerate leftover turkey.

Line a strainer with paper towels and pour stock through. If strained stock is still greasy, repeat straining through a paper towel. Separate stock into 2 halves and refrigerate one for other uses.  Throw bones and debris away.

To remaining stock, add sliced carrots, celery, onions, chopped garlic, 1 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp curry and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are tender on medium heat.  Add 1-2 cups leftover turkey (we use the dark meat) and 1-2 cups noodles or pasta.  Turn off from heat and let stand about 20 minutes until noodles are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once refrigerated stock has cooled, skim any additional fat off the top. Portion into containers and freeze.

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