Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now Christmas is just a few days away! Where has time gone!? Have you already got your Christmas plans figured out?

Today, I simply must sit down and make my list for the grocery store, or we are going to be eating dry oatmeal all day for Christmas! Okay, we would do a little better than that, but I do seriously have to get my list done and get to the store today.

If you need a little inspiration, let me help! I will help you make this meal a family favorite! Since my last post was cranberry sauce, you already have a start to your meal!

Yes, I know all the pieces aren't in the correct place, but that is a story for
another day. :)
What do you like to have on Christmas? Just like we do at Thanksgiving, we like to have a ham and a turkey. Perhaps you have a turkey thawing in your refrigerator waiting, for the big day, but perhaps you aren't excited by the thought of the dry, dull, tasteless meat. Never fear! I have the cure for that! Your first step will be your very best friend in cooking a turkey: brine! Not a boring brine, but beautiful brine! Don't run! It's not hard in the least little bit, and it will leave your cooked turkey so tender and moist and full of flavor! We were trying to catch the juice before it ran in the floor when we carved ours on Thanksgiving.

1-1/2 c kosher salt
3/4 c sugar, brown or white
5 sprigs sage
5 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
peel of one orange or tangerine 
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T black peppercorns
4 or 5 cups warm water

*My store didn't have all the herbs I needed in individual packs, so I picked up a pack of fresh herbs that had 'Poultry Herbs' written on the front. It turned out to have all the herbs listed above.

In a large pan, combine salt, sugar, and warm water. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Add cool water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature or below. You don't want to add a warm brine to your cold turkey. Remove anything that may be in the cavity of the turkey. Keep the neck and/or organs to simmer for your gravy. Place your turkey in a large stockpot. Pour the brine in and over your turkey. Fill the rest of the way with cold water. Make sure the turkey breast is down in the water. It's okay if the water doesn't cover all of the back. Put the pot in the refrigerator and that's it for 8-18 hours! Take a few minutes during this period to make an herb butter. Directions are below

Make sure not to leave the turkey in the brine longer than 18 hours; it will get too salty. At the end of that time, remove the turkey. Rinse and dry the turkey. Put it on a pan, and put it in the frig overnight. The next day, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature and rub with herb butter before cooking.

The next recipe will be your other greatest friend when making your turkey! This is my absolute favorite part! While your turkey is in the brine, leave one to one and a half sticks of butter out to soften.

Herb Butter
1 - 1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground turmeric
1/8 t ground sage
1 t dried basil leaves
1/4 t dried thyme leaves
1/8 t celery salt
2 pinches nutmeg
1/4 t crushed dried rosemary leaves

In a bowl, blend the butter and herbs. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use if you make it ahead of time. Just be sure to pull it out in time for it to soften before using it to rub your turkey.

The turmeric will give it a strange color, but it is so good!
Rub your turkey with the butter. 

Bake your turkey according to your directions. I cooked mine in my electric roaster for two hours.  And viola! A beautiful, delicious turkey. Make sure to let it rest at least ten minutes before carving.

Reserve some of the pan drippings for your gravy!! Happy cooking and eating! Merry Christmas!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!