Let’s Talk Turkey!
November 12, 2012
It is hard to believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner. We thought it would be fun to provide some tips, exchange recipes and possibly even help with the family’s holiday dinner! (a very special giveaway is offered at the end of this article)
Turkey and make-ahead dish tips
Thawing out a turkey can take longer than we expect. Refrigerator thawing takes one day for every four pounds so on average a 12 lb turkey will take three days. Cold water thawing is another option and takes 30 minutes per pound; the same size turkey should take six hours. It is encouraged to change the water frequently and the turkey should be submerged breast down. For both methods, the turkey will remain in its unopened wrapper.
Side dishes such as mashed potatoes, stuffing (aka, “dressing” for some military folks depending on your hometown!) can be made the day before and sometimes become even more flavorful. Mashed potato recipes which use butter, milk and / or sour cream can be placed in a baking dish after completion and stored in the refrigerator up to two days. To reheat, remove mashed potatoes from refrigerator 90 minutes before meal time. Heat oven to 350 degrees and after potatoes have been at room temperature for 60 minutes, place in oven for 25 – 30 minutes. If you would like a buttery crust, top potatoes with sliced butter and bake uncovered. Stuffing / dressing is a similar process, but you would use turkey or chicken broth to moisten before reheating.
How to get a moist, very moist turkey
Have you ever heard of brining? This method produces an extremely moist turkey, but can be challenging since it takes a ratio of water verses salt based upon the size of the bird. Dry brining is an easier option since you will not have to use gallons of water. Here is an example of a dry brining recipe:
2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
One 16-lb. turkey, preferably fresh (not kosher or self-basting)
2 oz. kosher salt (1/2 cup if using Diamond Crystal; 1/4 cup if using Morton)
Four days before you plan to roast the turkey, mix the herbs and oil in a small bowl. Loosen the skin around the shoulders of the bird and around the cavity. Carefully slide your hands underneath the skin to loosen it from the breast, thighs, and drumsticks. Rub the herb mixture on the meat, under the skin. Pat the skin back into place. Rub the salt inside the cavity and on the skin. Tuck the wing tips behind the neck and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Put the turkey in a large food-safe plastic bag (such as a turkey-size roasting bag) and tie. Put the bag inside a second bag and tie.
Refrigerate the turkey, turning it over every day, for 3 days. Remove the turkey from the bags and pat dry. Put it in a flameproof roasting pan and refrigerate, unwrapped, to let the turkey air-dry overnight (for the fourth day).
Roast the turkey
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F in the thickest part of a thigh, about 2 hours. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to settle. If making the gravy, do so while the turkey rests. (Courtesy of Fine Cooking publication)
Now for the special giveaway!
Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe or tip?? Please post them! Lincoln residents on Pendleton who post a recipe or tip will qualify for a $100.00 Commissary gift card. The number of giveaways will be based on resident participation so the higher the response, the more gift cards will be offered. Postings must be submitted prior to Monday, November 19. Those randomly selected will receive the gift cards on Tuesday, November 20 and Wednesday, November 21.