It’s hard to believe it’s that time of the year again, but turkey time is upon us! The season’s main event gets a lot of attention with countless recipes on roasting, grilling and even frying, as in our cooking class this month, Deep Fried Turkey. We thought we’d spend some time this year on three preparations that ensure a moist, juicy turkey as well as how to cook it.
- Flavored butters and rubs under the skin
A brine is a salt solution with other flavorings that the turkey is submerged in overnight. The solution permeates the meat and ‘seasons’ it from the outside in. The infused solution also salts the meat, not just the skin and imparts nuances of whatever other flavorings are in the brine solution.
Injecting a solution directly into the meat with a turkey injector adds moisture and flavor. Solutions can include white wine, grapefruit juice, salts and or a variety of other flavors. Injection results are best when the injected turkey is allowed to sit overnight.
Flavored butters are usually a combination of herbs and butter but can be as elaborate as your imagination allows. Chopped nuts, pancetta or bacon can also be added to softened butter and applied under and over the skin for a distinctive and unforgettable turkey.
We would like to present three spectacular turkey recipes that include each of the preparations above.
Honey Brined Turkey Stuffed w/Lemons & Thyme
- 1 20 pound turkey
- 8 quarts water
- 2 cups coarse salt
- 1 cup honey
- 2 bunches of fresh thyme
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 cups gf chicken broth for basting
- 1 cup pan drippings
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 Tablespoons gf flour
- 4-5 cups gf chicken stock
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- Salt and pepper
Rinse turkey and place in a large, heavy plastic zip-lock bag. Place turkey, in bag, in a large stock pot.
In a large bowl, add water, salt and honey, mixing until salt dissolves. Add 1 bunch of thyme, garlic and pepper; blend. Pour brine into zip-lock bag with turkey. Gather bag up tightly around turkey and secure it so that as much of the air as possible is removed and turkey is covered with brine. Place the pot in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Position a rack in bottom third of oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Drain turkey, discarding brine. Pat turkey dry inside and out. Pour freshly squeezed lemon juice into turkey cavity and place the squeezed lemon halves along with remaining bunch of thyme iside turkey cavity. Tuck wings under the back and tie legs together with kitchen string.
Place turkey breast-side down on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub bird all over with olive oil. Roast turkey for 1 hour and baste with chicken broth. Continue to roast for 1-1/2 more hours then remove from oven and turn turkey breast-side up. Return to oven and continue roasting, basting with chicken broth every 30 minutes until done.
Turkey is done when internal temperature of a meat thermometer inserted into achs 170-180 degrees F.
Place turkey on a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
Using a baster, remove fat from turkey drippings and heat drippings over medium
Place 1 cup chicken broth and 4 tablespoons flour in a small container with a lid and shake vigorously until blended. Pour flour mixture into simmering drippings and stir until mixture begins to thicken. Add about 4 cups chicken stock and cream, continuing to stir.
For desired consistency, add more flour/chicken stock mixture to thicken, or more chicken stock to thin. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
El Paso Turkey
- 1 12 pound free range turkey
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup gf chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the stuffing:
- 1 cup dried black beans
- 2 dried chipotle peppers
- 1 bay leaf
- 2/3 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 small dried hot peppers
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 Tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 cups fresh orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 medium red pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
Injecting the turkey:
Combine white wine, gf chicken stock, garlic powder, celery salt, chili powder and melted butter. Using a poultry injector, inject the liquid in the turkey breasts, legs and thighs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preparing the stuffing:
In a medium saucepan, cover the beans with cold water and soak overnight. Or alternatively, bring the beans to a boil, remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 1 hour. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, soak the chipotle peppers in 1 cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Remove the stems. Place the peppers in a food processor and add 2 tablespoons of the soaking liquid. Puree, adding more soaking liquid if necessary to make a thick paste. Strain through a sieve and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the black beans, 4 1/2 cups water, bay leaf and 1 tablespoon chipotle paste. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook until the beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Drain and let cool. Discard the bay leaf.
In a small saucepan, combine the rice with 2 cups of water. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Strain in a sieve and let cool.
In a small saucepan, combine small dried hot peppers, saffron threads and 1 cup of water. Cook over medium high heat until the chiles have softened and water has evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chilis to a blender and add the marjoram, orange juice and lime juice. Puree for 10 seconds. Strain through a sieve. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté over high heat, until just pink. Transfer the shrimp to a plate to cool. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Add the onions, carrot, red pepper and cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add pine nuts. Toast, turning frequently, until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the toasted pine nuts, black beans, rice, shrimp, sautéed vegetables, fresh cilantro and orange zest. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preparing the turkey:
Fill the chest and neck cavities with the stuffing. Sew or skewer closed; truss the bird. Set the turkey in a large roasting pan and pour on the reserved chili/saffron puree. Roast, basting every 20 minutes and adding water to the pan if the drippings start to brown, for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until the internal temperature of the turkey thigh measures 160°F. Cover the turkey with foil if the skin starts to get too dark. Let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes before carving.
Inject the turkey in the breast, legs and thighs 24 hours before stuffing. Cover and refrigerate.
Roast Turkey with Prosciutto Hazelnut Butter
For proscuitto hazelnut butter:
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 Tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 9 ounces prosciutto, chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
- Turkey neck, heart and gizzard
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 cups gf chicken broth
- One 16-18 pound turkey
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, halved
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 2 tarragon sprigs
- 1 Tablespoon crushed black peppercorns.
- 5 cups gf chicken broth
- 1/4 cup gf flour
For prosciutto hazelnut butter:
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until blended.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and set an oven rack to the lowest position. Rinse the turkey and trim off excess fat. Pat dry. Slide your hand between the skin and breast and legs to loosen the skin. Measure out 1/2 cup of the prosciutto hazelnut butter and set aside. Spread the remaining butter under the skin and all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper and place on the rack of a roasting pan. Place onion, garlic, thyme, tarragon and peppercorns inside the cavity. Tuck the wings under the body and tie the legs loosley together. Roast turkey uncovered for 1-1/2 hours. Tent with foil and add 2 cups of broth to the roasting pan and continue to roast for about 2 more hours or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Baste the turkey with the pan drippings occasionally.
Melt 1/4 cup prosciutto hazelnut butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the neck, heart and gizzard, shallots and bay leaf. Saute until brown all over, about 20 minutes. Add the wine, thyme, tarragon and rosemary and bring to a boil. Boil until liquid has reduced to a glaze. Add 4 cups broth and bring again to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for an hour. Discard bay leaf, thyme and tarragon sprigs. Set aside.
When turkey is done, transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm; let sit for 30 minutes.
Strain the fat off of the pan juices and add enough of the gravy base to make 5 cups. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup prosciutto hazelnut butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add gravy juice mixture whisking constantly. Cook until gravy has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Have a delicious gluten-free Thanksgiving!
- Chef Yvonne