Monday, February 27, 2017

Roast Turkey - Not Just For Thanksgiving

About five years ago I began brining my birds at home.  I don't think I'll ever prepare a turkey in another way...fresh, moist, and delicious! What leftovers there are reheat perfectly and what is used cold is super moist and tender...YUM!  Brining can also be done with other whole birds like Chicken, Cornish Game Hens, and even pieces on the bone.
Here's what I do when using a regular oven (If using a Convection Oven there's no need to hit the bird with high heat at the beginning, just set the oven to 350° F on Convection Roast and let the thermometer tell you when the bird is done - the skin will be crispy and delicious):

Brined Roast Turkey
1  14-16 lb. Frozen young turkey
1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
2 Bay leaves
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 gallon heavily iced water
Season salt and pepper
1/2 onion - large chunks
4 Rosemary sprigs 
4 Sage leaves 
4 Whole garlic cloves
1/2 lemon
1/2 stalk celery or celery tops
How to:
2 days or so before cooking:
Begin thawing bird in a refrigerator/cooler not to exceed 38°F.  If necessary, put bird in a large (5 gal) bucket/plastic (food grade) bin and run cool water over submerged bird until thawed (usually about 3 hours or so).
Combine the salt, sugar, stock, bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Stir to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.  Remove brine from heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
The day before cooking:
Combine the brine and iced water in the large bucket.  Place the thawed turkey, breast side down, in brine.  If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully covered in the liquid. Cover, and refrigerate for 8 to 20 hours, turning the bird once halfway through brining.
The day of cooking:
If using a convection oven, preheat to 350°F.  If using a regular oven, preheat to 450°F.
Remove bird from the brine and rinse both inside and out with cold water.  Discard the brine.
Place the bird on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan or sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Lightly use Season salt and pepper inside the cavity of the bird, then stuff with onion, rosemary, sage, garlic, lemon and celery.
Lightly use season salt and pepper on the outside of the bird, then tuck wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Reg. oven: Roast the turkey on the lowest rack in the oven at 450°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and follow directions below...
Convection oven: Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the oven temperature to 350°F Convection Roast.
...Set thermometer alarm to 155°F.
In a Convection oven a 14-16 lb. bird should require a total of about 1:45 to 2 hours of roasting.  In a Reg. oven a 14-16 lb. bird should require a total of 2 - 2 1/2 hours of roasting.  
Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 30 minutes before carving.

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