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Monday, November 19, 2012

Perfect Roast Turkey

Since we're so close to Thanksgiving, I thought it was the perfect time to re-post my turkey recipe.  I'll be utilizing it again this year, but after watching an episode of the Pioneer Woman I'm going to add some peppercorns, rosemary and orange peel to my brine this year (her full recipe is here).  I'll let you know how it turns out...

It's a lot of preparation and work, but this turkey recipe is the ultimate centerpiece to our Thanksgiving dinner.  The turkey is moist and succulent.  Even with the addition of citrus and the maple glaze, the drippings are still great for gravy.  So give it a try if you're feeling adventurous and industrious!
13 lb turkey
2 oranges
2 lemons
2 grapefruit

3/4 cup salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
water to cover

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 medium white or yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup minced thyme leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoons salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

DAY 1 (yes, this is a lengthy recipe!)
  1. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey.  Rinse well with cold water inside and out.
  2. In a container large enough to snugly hold the turkey, combine the brine ingredients with a cup of cold water.  Stir well.  Place turkey in the container and add more cold water until covered.  Put a plate on top of the turkey to keep it submerged.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Combine the stuffing ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Put the mixture on wax paper in a log shape.  Roll the paper around it and refrigerate.
DAY 2:
  1. After 24 hours in brine, discard the brine and rinse the turkey well with cold water.  Pat dry.  At the neck cavity, gently separate the skin from the breast meat on both sides with your fingers, working from the neck end back to the tail, making a pocket to hold the stuffing.  Be careful not to rip the skin.
  2. Remove the stuffing log from the refrigerator and cut into slices.  Insert the rounds under the skin.  From the outside of the skin, use your fingers to smooth the stuffing evenly over the breast meat.
  3. Quarter the citrus and stuff as many as will fit into the cavity of the turkey.
  4. In another bowl, combine the baste ingredients.
  5. Place a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and when it is hot, add the turkey, breast side down.  Cook until the breast skin is an even brown all over--about five minutes.
  6. Place the turkey breast side down on a roasting rack in a 4" deept roasting pan.  Baste the exposed skin well.  Put the turkey, leg end first into the lower third of 350 degree oven.  Baste every 30 minutes.  Cook the turkey, breast side down, until the innermost thigh meat registers 165 degrees.
  7. Turn the turkey breast side up and check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast.  Baste well and return to the oven.  Baste every 15 minutes until the breast meat registers 152 degrees.  Remove the turkey and let it rest 30 minutes under an aluminum foil tent before carving.
  8. Use the drippings to make gravy. 

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