recipe. This post will be without a whole lot of pics, which I will take next week to update, but I really felt like it was more important to help save your bird this year, if you belong to a family whose bird is in need of saving. You know who you are. (Allow me to wax poetic here for a moment. Even if you just run down to Wal Mart and grab whatever frozen bird they have there, it's still an animal. One that probably led a pretty s@#tty life until it was sacrificed for your table. I strongly believe that if an animal gives up its life so we can eat it, we owe that animal the best preparation we can muster.)
|This little tool is the easiest way to get pretty consistent orange or lemon zest. You can then chop with a knife if you want it in smaller pieces.|
|My parents have seriously held onto this magazine since 1989.|
So here we go. You've made your double batch of butter a day or two in advance to let the flavors meld together. You've taken it out of the fridge to warm to room temp. Now, to prep that turkey. I hope, if you bought a frozen turkey, that it's been thawing in the fridge for a couple of days. If not, you may want to put it in a sink of cold (NOT HOT) water to defrost.
When it's defrosted, remove the neck and giblets. You can use these in gravy, if that's how your family rolls, or you can make an excellent stock from them. However, if your turkey comes with a package of pre-made gravy frozen up in there, do your family a great service AND THROW THAT PAP AWAY IMMEDIATELY. Don't even handle it too much, lest you get bad cooking juju on you. Rinse your turkey well. Leave in that little thermometer button that pops out when it's cooking. You don't want to use this to measure when the turkey is done, but you don't want to leave a gaping hole for the juices to run out of either. Make sure you pull out any stray feather ends that may have been left behind.
|I stuffed that giant turkey until, as Stanley Tucci said in Julie and Julia, "she just couldn't take it anymore."|
A note on dressing versus stuffing. "Dressing" is served on the side; "stuffing" is actually stuffed in the turkey to cook. I'm in the anti-stuffing camp. You really have to be careful to make sure the stuffing is heated to a high enough temp so as to not poison everyone with raw-bird juices, and usually, by the time the stuffing is cooked, the bird is overcooked (your stuffing must reach 160 degrees F). I'm not a fan, though I know some people who swear by stuffing and do it well.
Do tuck in the wings so your bird cooks evenly and no floppy bits incinerate in the oven, but don't worry about trussing. It takes longer to cook a trussed bird, and then the breast is dry.
A note on cooking turkey. This is not an all-day event unless you've stuffed it. It's usually a 2-3 hour event AT MOST, depending on how large your bird is. A breast will take less than half that time.
|We had a little disaster with the convection oven being too hot, but we figured it out in time to save the bird. Next time, I think I'll take my blow torch to get a nice, even golden color.|
Another note on cooking turkey. Put the baster down. All it does is make that lovely, crunchy skin soggy. If you don't overcook the turkey and you let it rest for at least ten minutes, it will be juicy.
I don't usually brine my turkeys because I really like to use the drippings, and the drippings from a brined turkey are too salty. To make gravy: in a pot, add 3T Rosemary Orange butter and/or drippings. Let it melt. Whisk in 3T (maybe a bit more) flour to make a roux. Let it cook a minute to get the flour taste out. Slowly,whisk in about 2 cups stock. As you start whisking, it will look like crap, but eventually, it will even out (sprinkle flour, don't dump in one place, and don't use cold flour to prevent clumping).
Another fun thing you can do is make pretty butter for the rolls.
|Use a pastry bag to pipe pretty butter shapes onto parchment paper.|