Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving turkey with everything goes sauce

I am one of those people whose least favorite food item during Thanksgiving has always been the turkey. I detested chicken as a child and turkey was just more dry and bland meat. That is until this year! My  daring task this year was to cook my very first turkey. It seemed intimidating at first but it was actually quite easy.. you just need to know a few tricks. So after this year's thanksgiving I can no longer say that I don't like turkey.. I just have to be the one to cook it!
I picked a 10lb bird since we didn't have any family over for thanksgiving. It was gone in 2 days... not that it was a small bird.. it was just so delicious. It's a bit late but I will teach you my tricks for a super moist and tasty turkey.

4 days before
Start defrosting the bird by putting it in the fridge instead of freezer.

3 days before
Make a compound butter by melting a stick of salted butter and mixing it with the spices of your choice. I chose rosemary and thyme. I also added truffle oil, truffle pieces, salt, pepper. You want this butter to be as tasty as possible. Store in the refrigerator.

2 days before
  1. Hopefully the turkey will have thawed at this point. If not, immerse it in room temperature water for 30 minutes or until it's completely thawed.
  2. Take out the interior organs of the bird (save the neck).
  3. Get your hands (gently) between the skin and the muscle so as to make room. Almost like an envelope. You are going to put the compound butter (at room temperature) into this pocket you have created. Try not to tear the skin when doing this. Also try to open up the skin between the leg. You won't get all the way around the bird's breast and legs but you can try your best without ripping the skin.
  4. Once the butter is all rubbed inside the pocked you have created.
  5. cover the bird with a brining bag and store in the fridge until the big day.
You must be wondering what all this butter is for? It will keep your bird moist and give it a lot of flavor since the butter has been seasoned and rested for a day. Otherwise your bird wouldn't have any flavor below the skin.

day of
  1. Put the turkey on a roasting pan (cover the bottom of the pan with aluminium foil for easy clean up -it will get messy.) Place sprigs of fresh herbs inside the cavity (I used thyme, rosemary, and cooked brown rice with raisins and almonds)
  2. Tie the bird together for even cooking
  3. Place in the oven at 250-300 F and set your timer to 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile prepare a mixture of chicken stock and white wine (about 3 cups worth) and melt half a stick of butter. Have all these handy.
  5. Every 30 minutes you will brush the turkey with this liquid mixture and butter. This will keep your bird very moist and add more flavor. Don't forget to set the timer.. every 30 minutes for as long as the turkey takes to bake. If it's a large turkey you may need extra liquid and butter for brushing.
  6. Most turkeys have that small red dot that tells you when it's done, I don't trust them so I like to check my meat with a thermometer. It is likely that doing the turkey with this method I just described, the bird will cook quicker. Mine should have taken 5 hours and it took 3. So when you think the turkey looks done, poke it with a thermometer and it should read 180 degrees. Over-roasting will make the turkey dry out.

So then what about the gravy right?
Well.. to tell you the truth.. this turkey doesn't need gravy.. it has so much flavor.. but I did make a pan sauce to go with it that was quite delicious. My husband liked it so much he wanted to put it on everything.. even an empty spoon!

  1. With the neck you saved from the turkey you'll sautee that with a little butter and 1/4 chopped onions.
  2. Once the meat has browned and the onions have color, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup milk.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of milk, whisk a little, and take out the turkey neck (discard it). By adding 1/2 cup white wine and extra milk, you will make a bechamel sauce out of this mixture. 
  4. Season with salt, pepper and sage.
  5. As this mixture cools while you wait for the turkey, it will ticken, but right before serving the turkey, add another 1/4-1/2 cup liquid to the sauce to make it runny again.
  6. Whisk 1 minute and serve with your turkey!

I was proud of this big bird!

Turkey with tangy sweet mashed potatoes and the everything goes sauce!

The mashed potatoes were super healthified, I boiled them, then mashed them and added some yogurt (1/3 cup) and ricotta cheese (1/4 cup) to make them creamy. I seasoned them with salt, pepper and DONE! The easiest thing on the menu.

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