Friday, November 23, 2012
Slow cooked turkey
Something different this year, based on a few different recipes I'd read. Start by brining the turkey overnight in a solution of salt and sugar. Remove the wings and thighs and wishbone, chop off the ends of the wings and the legs, remove the back, and crack the breastbone so the carcass lays flat. Place the cut up bird in a roasting pan over a layer of onions, carrots, and celery.
Use the trimmings to make a stock: Place in a stockpot with a bit of salt, two bay leaves, and some thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for an hour.
Bake the turkey at 275 until the white meat reaches a temperature of 160 and the dark meat, 170. This won't take much over two hours, if that. Monitor the temperature carefully over the last half hour- once the temperature reaches 140, you're maybe 15 minutes from done.
Remove the turkey from the over and let cool for half an hour. Transfer the vegetables to the stock. Remove the carcass pieces from the stock and press the rest of the stock through a sieve. Season if necessary.
Stuffing: Saute 1 lb sausage along with a similar amount of coarsely chopped celery and onions. Se sure to use the celery leaves.
Ley cool, and mix with two eggs, a loaf of bread that you've cut into 1/2" cubes and dried in the oven, salt and pepper, chopped fresh sage leaves, and enough stock to moisten. Bake covered at 350 for an hour.
Raise the oven to 500, and return the turkey and the stuffing to the oven for 15 minutes- no more. Using a pair of pliers, pull out the tendons from the legs, which will make them easier to carve. Remove the breast meat from the carcass by cutting along the breast bone, which will make it very simple to carve.
Gravy: Put 4 tablespoons of fate you've skimmed off the stock (or 4T of butter) in a saucepan with 4T of flour. Stir over medium heat until well absorbed. Slowly stir and whisk in about 4c of the stock. Season to taste.
Sorry I don't have more photos, but between all the other dishes I was cooking and the guests arriving something had to give ;-) Everyone (myself included) remarked that the meat was moist and juicy throughout. However... this technique doesn't give you the same intense drippings and dark bits of caramelized fond you need to make a really good gravy. Thus it's probably back to the traditional roasting method next time- with more brining and a very close attention to internal temperature.