The Platonic Ideal of Roast Turkey
a couple of years ago i decided i was going figure out how to make 
the platonic ideal of roast turkey (or as near as i could get). i 
researched it obsessively and gathered the most plausible advice from 
magazines, newsgroups, cookbooks, and my own past experience. i 
wrote down what i did (and here and there, notes for what to try next 
time). it made a *damned* good turkey--there's not much i'll change 
next time! 
(makes 4 gallons, enough to brine a 14-ish pound turkey in a 5-gallon 
4 gal.  water
6 cup  morton's kosher salt
8 cup  brown sugar
3   onions, coarsely chopped
6 - 8 clove  garlic, coarsely chopped
  bay leaves
  thyme, dried
  sage, dried
  mustard seed
  whole cloves
  whole allspice, cracked
  peppercorns, cracked
  try lemon in some form?)
start this in the morning, cool it all day, and it's ready to brine 
the turkey overnight. 
bring 2 gallons water to a boil and add everything else except the 
remaining water. boil for 30 minutes. turn off heat and let stand 
until it's cool enough to put in the refrigerator without melting 
everything around it. when you're ready to brine the turkey, add 
enough water and ice to make up the remaining two gallons. 
submerge the turkey completely in the brine and let it stand for 8 
hours in a cold place (outdoors if it's in the low 30s, or in a 
cooler of ice, or in the refrigerator if there's room). 
herb butter rub 
3/4 cup  unsalted butter, softened
  grated zest of 2 lemons
6 Tbsp  finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp  ground allspice
1/4 tsp  ground cloves
1/4 tsp  ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp  pepper
  try fresh sage? a little garlic? substitute dried thyme?)
mix everything together. gently loosen the skin from the turkey over 
the breast meat and smear it with half the butter. smear the rest on 
the outside of the skin on the rest of the bird. 
  8quot square pan of cornbread (made with fine-ground cornmeal)
2 cup  pecans
4 Tbsp  butter
2   onions, finely chopped
4   garlic cloves, pressed
4 stalk  celery, finely chopped
3   granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup  finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp  finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp  finely chopped fresh sage
4 large  eggs, slightly beaten
2 cup  chicken stock
1 tsp  salt
1/2 tsp  pepper
make the cornbread and cool. cut into 1/2 inch cubes and dry them in 
the oven at 200 degrees. 
toast the pecans, 1 cup at a time, stirring often, in an iron skillet 
over medium heat (5-8 minutes, until they are fragrant and starting 
to brown). chop coarsely. 
melt butter in a dutch oven. add onion, garlic, celery and apples 
and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. 
in a large bowl, combine cornbread cubes, pecans, onion mixture, and 
herbs. mix together stock, eggs, salt and pepper and add to 
cornbread mixture. 
microwave about 5 cups of stuffing for about 5 minutes on high, until 
it registers 120-130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. stuff 
it in both cavities of the turkey. 
put the remaining stuffing in a greased 9" x 13" pan, cover, and 
refrigerate. after the turkey comes out of the oven, bake at 375 
degrees for about 45 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. 
adjust oven rack to its lowest position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
truss the turkey: <> 
put it, breast-side down, in a v-rack in a roasting pan. add 1 cup 
stock to the pan. 
roast the turkey for 1 hour. add 1 cup water to the pan after 1/2 hour. 
reduce heat to 250 degrees and roast another 2 hours. add another 
cup of water to pan when you turn the oven down. 
remove turkey from the oven and turn it over, breast-side up. turn 
heat back up to 400 degrees. brush breast with melted butter. add 
more water to the pan if necessary (don't let it boil dry!) roast 
another 1-1-1/2 hours, adding water as needed. the turkey is done 
* the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees 
* the thickest part of the thigh registers 170-175 degrees 
* the stuffing registers 165 degrees 
* how to test: <> 
let turkey stand 1/2 hour before carving. 
3 - 5 cup  chicken stock
1 cup  dry white wine
1/4-1/2 cup  flour
deglaze the roasting pan with all but 1 cup stock and the white wine 
over 2 burners on medium heat, scraping the bottom with a wooden 
spoon to loosen the browned bits. simmer for 5 minutes. strain into 
a saucepan. whisk flour into the remaining 1 cup cold stock and stir 
into the pan drippings. stir and simmer until thickened. 
visit my cooking stuff page... 
(remove the nospam from my address to reply) 
(ID: 10061) Mirror: Wed, Nov 12, 2003

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