Sunday, December 5, 2010

Roasted Turkey

It was just a matter of time before I spatchcocked a turkey.  You knew that, right?  Not as beautifully presented as a whole bird, but in this occasion it does not matter.  We will get the advantage of even cooking resulting in better flavor, juiciness and tenderness.  With the turkey being only 9 pounds, it was not too difficult to cut the back bone out with a pair of kitchen shears.  A few choice mutterings may have escaped my mouth, but in all, it was as civil as removing a back bone out of a turkey could be.  With my cleaver, I cracked the hard part of the breast bone in order to flatten out the turkey.  


For the brine.. approximately 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp each of dried rosemary and thyme.  Add 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes to dissolve the salt and sugar and bring out the flavors of the herbs.  Then add another 3-4 cups of cold water, or more as needed to submerge the turkey.  Let cool completely before putting the turkey in.  I used a large stock pot and placed the turkey inside and covered it with the brine.  If your weather is like ours currently in Seattle, you can put the whole thing outside if you don't have room in your refrigerator.  Use a small cooler if you want instead.  But I can tell you my pot is outside on my deck right now.  I will report back should food poisoning ensue. 

The next day, take the turkey out of the brine, discard the brine, and pat dry the turkey.  Let it come to room temp before roasting.  Use a large baking sheet or pan to roast.  Lay the turkey skin side up and roast in a 400f oven for approximately 45 minutes.   At this point, the skin was brown enough, that I loosely covered it with foil.  Turn the oven down to 350 and roast for another 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of the turkey reaches 165f.   Rotate the turkey once while roasting.  No need to baste.  As a matter of fact, it's better that you do not, as the skin will not be crispy if you do.  Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.


In my preparation for the eventual turkey pot pies, I made a large pot of turkey stock by using various turkey parts, onion, celery and carrots.  Combine everything with water and simmer for a couple of hours.  Use the fat from the roasting of the turkey and make a roux with some flour.  It should form a very soft and wet dough.  Cook the roux for a minute or so.  The amount of flour and fat you use depends on how much stock you have.  I had quite a bit of both because of what I was going to save for the pot pies.  Plus, we just flat out love gravy.  Add the roux to the boiling turkey stock and whisk in as needed to achieve the consistency of gravy you like.


I love the smell of the turkey roasting.  It conjures up feelings of warmth and coziness and the anticipation of something good to come.  

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