Turkey is still the number one meat at the Christmas table and although many of you have enjoyed turkey dinners at various functions some of us still wait until Christmas to stuff and roast our bird. For an even more delicious and moist turkey try brining your bird before it is cooked. Happy Christmas!
How to brine your turkey:
Remove neck, gizzards etc from turkey cavity, rinse your bird thoroughly.
Combine one cup salt with 6 quarts of water, place your turkey in a large plastic bag, doubling up works well here. Pour in the brine solution.
Tie your bag closed and then place in a large pot or roasting pan.
Refrigerate for about 12 to 24 hours, flipping the turkey a few times.
Remove turkey from bring solution, rinse well and pat dry before seasoning.
If you're stuffing your turkey here are some helpful hints:
Always stuff your turkey before roasting. Never use stuffing that is warm or cold; your stuffing should be at room temperature.
Stuffing should be loosely packed in the turkey cavity and neck to allow room for it to expand during cooking.
If your stuffing is too tightly packed your stuffing will be dense.
When your turkey is cooked always remove all the stuffing from the cavity at once, leaving unused stuffing in the cavity could promote harmful bacteria growth if you eat it at a later date.
Refrigerate unused stuffing separately.
If you have leftover unbaked stuffing, make them into patties and sauté them in a little olive oil or butter.
12-14 lb turkey
10 cups stuffing
1/2 cup butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cup minced fresh herbs pureed with 1/4 cup olive oil
(1/4 cup fresh thyme, 1/2 cup chopped chives, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 1/8 cup garlic)
1 cup water
The night before cooking your turkey, rinse the turkey, pat it dry and season it inside out with salt and pepper. Rub the minced herb mixture over turkey completely, cover and leave refrigerated overnight.
The next day bring your turkey to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Pack the neck cavity loosely with some of the stuffing, fold the neck skin under the body of the turkey and fasten it with a skewer.
Pack the body cavity loosely with the remaining stuffing and truss the turkey.
Spread the turkey with the butter, place it on a roasting pan and roast it in the oven for 30 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 325F. Baste the turkey with the pan juices and add the water to the pan.
Roast the turkey, basting it every 20 minutes for 2 1/2 to 3 hours more. Or until a meat thermometer inserted into the fleshiest part of the thigh registers 180F, and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced.
Transfer the turkey to a platter, remove the string and cover loosely with foil.
Remove stuffing. When turkey has cooled. then proceed to carve.
Serves 10 –12 persons.
TURKEY COOKING TIMES
Here are some guidelines for you to follow when roasting your turkey.
Some recipes will tell you to start the roasting process at a temperature of about 425F-this is to brown your turkey before the cooking process begins, after this time you will lower your temperature to 325F and continue cooking.
Weight Unstuffed Stuffed
10-18 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours 3 3/4- 4 1/2 hours
18-22 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours 4 to 5 hours
22-24 pounds 4 to 4 1/2 hours 4 1/2 to 5 hours
24 to 29 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours 5 1/2 to 6 1/4 hours
1 lb chicken giblets, cleaned and finely chopped
1 tbs minced chives
1 tsp minced garlic
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped onions
4 tbs French thyme, fresh
5 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper to taste
6 cups, soft breadcrumbs
1/2 cup currants
1/3 cup French thyme
4 ozs butter, melted (optional)
1/2 cup chicken stock
Clean giblets and mince in food processor, season or combine with minced chives and garlic.
In a large sauté pan, heat oil, add garlic, onions, thyme, peppers, celery, chives and cook and stir until onions are tender, add giblets and stir until they have lost their pinkness, about two minutes, add currants and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add bread crumbs, and combine well, add thyme and melted butter and stir.
If your stuffing seems a little dry, moisten stuffing with a little chicken stock adding only about one tablespoon at a time until moist but not wet.
Turn onto plate and cool before stuffing into bird.