THE MAN (...ER BIRD) OF THE HOUR!
Mr. Turkey usually graces our table around Thanksgiving time. It's a fun decoration for the grandkids and uses a perfectly good pumpkin left over from Halloween. Speaking of turkey, last Friday I took my daughter and daughter-in-laws, (I feel bad that we were missing my oldest daughter who lives out of state), to a cooking class taught by a master chef who has more initials after his name than I could count. He taught us how to make a perfect Thanksgiving dinner, and then of course, we ate that perfect Thanksgiving dinner after the class! We all agreed, it all was absolutely heavenly! Everything from the best stuffing, to rich bread pudding, to fresh cranberry sauce, to yams that anyone would love, to the moistest, most flavorful turkey we had ever eaten. He says the main problem in cooking a turkey is that it often is very dry. I want to share with you his secrets for roasting turkey:
- It doesn't matter what brand of turkey you use, or whether it is fresh or frozen.
- The first thing to do is rip the self timer out. He says they are often set way too high, to assure there won't be any lawsuits resulting from undercooked poultry.
- Use your own meat thermometer put in the thickest part of the breast meat and set it for 165 degrees.
- Always roast your turkey in an open roasting pan sitting up on a rack in the oven at the oven temperature suggested on the turkey wrapping.
- Never cook your turkey in a bag, or upside down, or sitting in the juices because this is a different method of cooking, i.e. braising or steaming. Turkeys should be roasted as indicated above.
- Now comes the most important part. The secret of a moist turkey is to submerge it in a brine mixture for at least 4, but not more than 24 hours before you cook it! The basic recipe for the brine solution is one cup of kosher salt and one half cup sugar dissolved into one gallon of cool water. The amount needed will depend on how large your turkey is. You can use a stock pot, a bucket or whatever fits so the turkey is submerged and the container can sit on the lower rack of your refrigerator. If room in the refrigerator is not an option, you can use an ice chest that you have thoroughly cleaned or one of those throw away Styrofoam ice chests, put in the coolest place you have and keep ice on top. When you are ready to cook the turkey, rinse then rub on your favorite spices, eliminating the salt, since the turkey will have already absorbed a significant amount of salt and any drippings you use for gravy will already be salty.
Well, tomorrow I hope all your tummies are full of good food that you will be sharing with family and friends. I hope you take the time to tell your family you love them and to say a prayer of thankfulness and gratitude for all the blessings you have been given by a Father in Heaven who loves you and watches over you. And,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM MY HOME TO YOURS!