December 14, 2006

Thanksgiving Food

Alton Brown’s Turkey

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine: 1 cup kosher salt 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 gallon vegetable stock 1 tablespoon black peppercorns 1/2 tablespoon allspice berries 1/2 tablespoon candied ginger 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.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

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

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

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, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F.

Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees.

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.


§ Remove a turkey from the refrigerator about one hour before placing it in the oven.

§ Brush the bird generously with melted butter before roasting to assist in browning and adding flavor.

§ Baste only at the beginning of the roasting process. Basting later may make the skin soft instead of crispy.

§ Cook your turkey on a rack with white wine or chicken broth in the bottom of the pan.

§ Roast the bird with the breast side down for the first hour.

§ Use a meat thermometer for best results. When done, the breast temperature should be 170°F, the thigh 180°F.

16–20 pounds 4 to 5 hours

20–25 pounds 5 to 6 hours

Approximate ROASTING TIMES FOR TURKEY (325 °F oven temperature)

18-20 lbs. 4¼ - 4½ Hours

20-24 lbs. 4½ - 5 Hours

Cooking Live’s Gravy

Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a heatproof glass bowl or large measuring cup.

Let stand for 5 minutes, then skim off and reserve the clear yellow fat that has risen to the top.

Measure 3/4 cup fat, adding melted butter if needed. Add enough turkey stock to the skimmed drippings to make 8 cups total.

Place the roasting pan on two stove burners over low heat and

add the turkey fat.

Whisk in the flour, scraping up browned bits on the bottom of the pan,

and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Whisk in the turkey stock and the optional bourbon.

Cook, whisking often, until the gravy has thickened and no trace of raw flour remains, about 5 minutes.

Turkey Gravy from How to Boil Water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, (1/2 a stick) Neck and giblets from a 12 to 14 pound turkey (discard the liver) 1 medium onion, sliced 8 cups chicken broth, home made or low sodium canned Couple sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, rosemary, or sage 1 bay leaf Turkey pan drippings 1/2 cup all-purpose flour Dash Worcestershire sauce Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan, over medium-low heat. Add the neck, giblets, onion, and cook stirring occasionally until browned, about 15 minutes. Add the broth, herbs, and bay leaf; cover and simmer over medium-low heat, about 2 hours. (This can be done while your turkey roasts.) Discard the giblets or reserve for chopping and adding to the gravy.

Pour all the turkey pan drippings into a liquid measuring cup or a degreasing cup. Set aside to let the fat separate from the darker pan juices. (Put the measuring cup in the freezer to helps them separate.)

Ladle off 1/2 cup of the fat from the top of the drippings, and transfer to a saucepan (or do it the old fashioned way in the turkey roasting pan.)

Heat the fat over medium heat. Scatter the flour evenly on top and cook, stirring constantly, with a wooden spoon until the flour browns slightly and smells toasty, about 4 minutes. Switch to a whisk; then gradually and carefully ladle the hot broth into the flour mixture while whisking constantly. Bring the gravy to a boil; adjust the heat so it simmers gently. Skim and discard any excess fat from the remaining drippings, and add the pan juices to the gravy. Continue to simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes. Chop and add giblets, if desired. Season with the Worcestershire, salt, and pepper.

Transfer gravy to a sauce boat and serve hot.

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