Search This Blog

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Time

Connie and I are absolutely in the minority on Black Friday.  We don't even attempt to go to the grocery store.  Neither of us has the shopping gene.  And, we particularly don't have the crowded shopping gene.  My favorite trips to the store involve a list and a plan and a no lines.  Well, unless there's a rack of cookbooks.  Then, you'll find me browsing.  But, you knew that :-)

On Thanksgiving, we were lucky to be able to go to my brother and sister-in-laws.  Talk about extended family.  My niece and nephew, my mom, my sister-in-law's sister and folks.  My niece's husband and stepdaughter and his grandparents. Plus, my sister-in-law's cousin and his wife and their daughter and her mom and brother.  Nineteen of us total.  We are indeed thankful to be part of such a wonderful family! 

While the turkeys were on sale, I bought one so we'd have leftovers.  The day after Thanksgiving is when we roast our own turkey.  Last year, I pretty much followed Alton Brown's recipe.  This year I combined his, what a friend told me about Pam Anderson's, my brother's and my own.  Actually, my intent wasn't to even blog about the turkey since I'd blogged about Alton's recipe last year.  But, this turkey was the best yet so more than anything I want to get the instructions written down before I forget a bit of them. 

Kate's Turkey with Thanks to Alton et al


for the brine:
1 gallon vegetable stock (we just add Penzey's stock base to the other ingredients when we heat them)
1 c kosher salt
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 T black peppercorns
1 T allspice berries
1 T candied ginger
1 lemon, thinly sliced

for the aromatics and base:
1 red apple, quartered
1 onion, quartered
2 large sprigs rosemary
2 large sprigs sage
8 ribs celery
8 whole carrots

for the baste:
16 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
4 oz can orange juice concentrate
1 c red wine
1 stick butter


The night before you're going to roast the turkey, it's time to brine it.  Put the brine ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cover with water. 

Simmer until the salt has pretty much dissolved.  I've found it never dissolves totally.  Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Add the brine ingredients to a large stockpot and fill it halfway with water.  Add the thawed turkey breast side down then add water to assure the turkey is fully submerged. 

Allow the turkey to soak in the brine for 8-16 hours.

Preheat your oven to 500.  Prepare the roasting pan.  Lay the carrots and celery in the bottom of the pan - two ribs of celery then two carrots... 

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it well with cool water.  Place the turkey breast side down on the carrots and celery.  Stuff the onion, apple, sage and rosemary in the cavity.  Rub the turkey with butter or canola oil.  Place the roasting pan in the oven.  Roast the turkey for 30 minutes then reduce the heat to 350.  If the skin gets too dark, you can cover it with foil.  Roast another two hours breast side down. 

When you put the turkey in the oven, start your basting sauce.  Put all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and stir to combine as the butter and cranberry sauce melt.  Baste the turkey once or twice while it's cooking skin-side down.

After two and a half hours, flip the turkey breast side up.  (nb:  we've found a pair of oven mitts works wonderfully for this.)  Baste it well.  Roast for another hour and a half to two hours, basting regularly.  Again, if the skin gets too dark, you can tent it with foil.

Alton's recipe calls for removing the turkey from the oven when it reaches 161 degrees.  Mine hit 175 at four hours - which is when I checked it... 

Allow the turkey to rest for 15-20 minutes while you make the gravy.  Use some of the drippings with the fat to start the gravy the skim the fat from more drippings to add to the gravy.  I also add about 1/2- 1 cup of water. 

We found that the carrots used as a base and the onions stuffed in the turkey made for some fantastic eating.  We didn't try the apple or celery. 

 adapted from Alton Brown, Pam Anderson and John Marvel


Eliotseats said...

Kate, I am with you on the avoidance of shopping and the mania that goes with it this time of year. What a great idea to roast a turkey just for leftovers. I may copy you.

Monet said...

I avoid the craziness too! And I love the aromatics that you added to your turkey. This looks delicious, as always, and your words make me smile, yet again. I hope you have a blessed week and a wonderful season of joy and food and fun.

Lizzy said...

Oh, boy! Your turkey looks fabulous, too! I'm ready to roast another one :)

PS...we stay put on Black Friday, too!