Thanksgiving - Turkey
Post date: Nov 12, 2019 7:2:2 PM
I generally go for a 20-ish pound bird or larger... 26 is my target size -make sure it's completely prepped, neck removed, organs removed. (save these for gravy). Make sure feathers are completely removed.
You need to make this an all day project, you are going to be at the stove on and off for roughly 7 hours. Give yourself time, and when the bird comes out of the oven, let it rest for half an hour at least before carving it.
Day of, remove from Brine, rinse bird thoroughly inside and out.
Peel bag of baking potatoes, and halve-them at an angle. Place in a butter greased turkey pan - lining the bottom of the pan. Then drizzle olive oil lightly over the tops of the raw peeled potatoes.
Make your stuffing - I do mine completely by sight and texture. Bread crumbs, chicken broth, celery, carrots, onion, mushrooms, sausage, and green apple.
The Stuffing is made of dried bread crumbs, about 8 ounces of chicken broth (added to lightly moisten the bread crumbs -not to soak them wet). In a pan, place the sliced mushrooms, peeled and diced onion and saute with diced celery and shredded carrots until onion is translucent, add the cooked and crumbled seasoned and savory game sausage, and then the peeled and diced green apple. Combine in a large bowl.
When stuffing the bird, pack the stuffing in tightly at first and then looser as you approach the opening, you want the top to look loose and fluffy. If there is leftover stuffing, put in a glass Pyrex dish to cook separately, or another day.
Note about sausage, make sure it's a flavor you like before using it in stuffing. The complex flavor of the sausage will color the stuffing. This stuffing is a meal unto itself.
Take the turkey and completely heavy dust coat the bird with bread flour while it's still damp from its rinse.
(Flour should be adhered thoroughly on all surfaces.)
Stuff the bird, both cavities. You can use toothpicks to hold the neck flap in place while rotating the bird if needed.
Place bird on top of the roasting pan lined with potatoes. (potatoes are there to lift the bird off the bottom, and give roasted goodness to serve with the bird).
Salt and Pepper the top outside of the bird, making sure to get the breast, legs, and wings with dry seasoning ingredients.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place bird in the oven, uncovered for 35 minutes at 425.
At 35 minutes lower the temperature to 325 and cover with a loose sheet of foil.
At every hour mark from here on in, baste. Cook until internal temperature of bird reaches at least 165 degrees but no more than 170.
Should look something like this when ready.
For the turkey gravy, I put the neck, and internal organs in to a saucepan with 4 cups of water. I put the burner on roughly medium-ish, and just let it simmer along for the course of the day while the bird is cooking. I add water as needed to keep it at that 4 cup level, trying to keep it about the same because of evaporation. Prior to pulling the bird out of the oven, you can get a feel for that as you check the temperature, turn the burner up to high and bring the water to a boil. Scoop out the organs and turkey neck and if you don't want to consume them(just toss them away). Add 1/2 cup of butter. Add a little flour and cornstarch (about equal parts 2 tablespoons of each) to the boiling water and whisk until thick, turn to medium and keep stirring slowly for about 15 minutes, then turn to lowest setting and keep warm until ready to serve. Note: do not use the drippings from the turkey pan, they will be too salty.
Cranberry sauce -
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
12 ounces of fresh cranberries
Zest of the orange, somewhere in the line of 2 teaspoons worth
and a pinch of kosher salt
Bring the orange juice, water, cranberries, and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, stir until the sugar is fully absorbed and the cranberries are mush. Turn the temperature to low and add the rest of the ingredients, zest of the orange and a pinch of salt. Let cook for about 20 minutes more, then turn off burner and let it cool.
Just Photos of the food, at various stages: