Monday, November 29, 2010

Alton Brown's Super-Tasty, No-Fuss, Time-Tested, Totally Foolproof Bird

You are totally sold right? I didn't even make up that Recipe name - that is what it's actually called!!
I know I am totally posting late - but this is the first year I've done Thanksgiving dinner all by myself - so I wanted the recipes to be tested and guaranteed delicious before posting - keep this one in mind for Christmas, a fancy Sunday dinner or a nice surprise for your loved one's birthday... def making this turkey again!!!

Alton's Super-Tasty, No-Fuss, Time-Tested, Totally Foolproof Bird
1 14-16lb turkey (he calls for frozen – but I used fresh and it was fantastic!)

For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining. *Don't be too worried about the 'brine time' I put my turkey in the brine on Wed afternoon and didn't take it out until 24? hours later. Brine is like a marinade - as long as you give it the minimum amount of time - you are fine.*
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

**I know what you are thinking - Why did you stuff the bird with aromatics instead of stuffing?? To see that answer - link here.
AND WE CAN'T FORGET ABOUT CARVING THE PUMPKIN! *Oh. My. Goodness. It's been 3 weeks since I posted this and while looking for a different recipe - I noticed that I wrote "PUMPKIN" when I really meant "TURKEY" durrrr...
Bobby Flay’s carving tips:
He used the tip of his knife to separate both breasts from the bird. Then he seperates the legs and as far as the dark meat goes, he just pulls it off (looks like shredded chicken) with his fingers. Then, he slices the breast into chunky pieces (probably 1 ½” thick) and plates. Then – see below.
Leave yourself time between roasting and carving. "Let the turkey rest for at least 45 minutes," suggests Bobby, "so the juices stay in tact when you cut it."
Cut thick slices. "I never could understand why people like to slice the turkey thinly," Bobby says. "You really want to keep the moisture in by actually cutting it thicker." He says that cutting it in thin slices makes the meat dry out very quickly.
Give the turkey a soak before serving. "The key to thanksgiving is one ingredient: Chicken stock!" Bobby reveals. "[Have] Hot chicken stock on your stove so that when you've [carved] this a half an hour ahead of time ... it brings back the moisture and makes it hot!"

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