Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving, Part 4?!

I picked up a $30 turkey for 10 bucks this past weekend....because we hadn't had enough turkey with our three Thanksgivings. We had talked about brining a turkey but because we always go to our families for Thanksgiving dinner we never had the opportunity. This was our opportunity. A fifteen pound turkey all to ourselves, leftover galore, I wouldn't have to cook all week! So far it has worked our marvelously.

The turkey and all the fixings!
Gravy, Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry Sauce (from a can!), Brioche Rolls from Reading Terminal served up with a Garlic-Chive Butter, and Lillian's Secret Mashed Potatoes!
 We went with the Alton Brown recipe because he is Mr. Lawyer's food guru. It was a little tricky to brine the turkey in our apartment but we squeezed the turkey into my largest stock pot and rearranged the fridge to make it happen. The roasting went smoothly. We might have found our go to recipe for whenever we host a holiday in the far future!
I love that you can see the Christmas Tree in this picture.
 Now it's time to find some fun recipes for all the leftovers. Turkey soup? Chili? Salad? Plus making stock from the bones! I cannot wait.
Brined & Roasted Turkey
(From Good Eats by Alton Brown)
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 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
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
1. 2 to 3 days before roasting: Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F. 
2. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
3. Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat: Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine. Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
5. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
6. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

We kept all of the dishes Alton Brown inspired and went with gravy recipe as well. I didn't follow the proportions of this recipe exactly and used sherry instead of wine but it came out wonderfully!
Best Gravy Ever
(from Alton Brown)
1 Good Eats Roast Turkey, recipe above
24 ounces reduced sodium chicken broth
8 ounces red wine (I subbed in sherry)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme or rosemary
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and set aside to rest. Leave the drippings from the turkey in the pan and place the roasting pan over medium heat. Add the broth and wine at the same time. Whisk to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan until all of the bits have come loose. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes in order to reduce the mixture slightly. 
2. Transfer the liquid to a fat separator and let sit for 5 minutes to allow fat to separate. Return 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the fat to the roasting pan and place over medium-high heat. Discard any remaining fat. 
3. bAdd the flour and whisk to combine. Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture starts to thicken and become smooth, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Once this happens, gradually add the liquid back to the pan and whisk until smooth and you have reached your desired consistency, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Remember, your gravy should be slightly thin in the pan as it will thicken once you serve it. Add the herbs and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

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