Friday, November 16, 2007

gobble, gobble

Since this is the last food for thought friday before Thanksgiving I thought it appropriate to share what I've heard is the be-all, end-all recipe for roasting a to-die-for turkey. The recipe is from Martha Stewart, and though I'm not a big fan of hers I think this recipe is worth sharing. It's a bit of work but most of the work happens the day before Thanksgiving. You can make those Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes while you're at it! The second recipe is for a really yummy soup I had the other evening, and though it calls for chicken I think it would be just as fabulous with some of that leftover turkey filling your fridge come the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Spice-Cured Turkey
4 cups coarse salt
5 cups sugar
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 leeks, cut into 1-inch pieces and cleaned of all sand
3 bay leaves
1 garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 T whole black peppercorns
1 T ground cumin
2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp whole allspice
8 cups water
1 (18-20 pound) turkey
1 recipe Apple-Chestnut Stuffing
1 recipe Spice Butter, softened
1/2 cup apple cider
3 T all-purpose flour
3 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock

In a large stockpot, combine salt, sugar, carrots, celery, onions, leeks, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, cumin, red-pepper flakes, cloves, and allspice. Add the water, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. The brine needs to cool completely before the turkey is soaked in it: It can be made a day ahead or chilled over an ice bath.
Rinse turkey under cold water; pat dry. Place in stockpot, breast side down. Add brine and enough water to cover. Cover the stockpot and refrigerate overnight. Remove turkey from brine; drain.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fill cavities with stuffing, being careful not to pack too tightly. Secure skin over neck cavity with toothpicks or skewers, and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub turkey generously with spice butter, and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Place in oven and roast 30 minutes. Baste, rotate pan, and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue basting every 30 to 45 minutes, until temperature taken in thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees (3 1/2 to 4 hours). Once turkey is well browned, cover with foil, in sections, if necessary to prevent overbrowning. Remove foil for last 30 to 60 minutes, to crisp skin. Allow turkey to rest 30 minutes before carving. While turkey is resting, remove stuffing.

To make gravy, pour liquid from the roasting pan into a gravy skimmer; set aside. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat; deglaze with a cup apple cider, using a wooden spoon to scrape up bits stuck to the pan. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons of reserved fat from pan and flour; cook 3 to 4 minutes, until browned. Add reserved apple-cider mixture, stock, and any separated juices from pan. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Serve.

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
5 2/3 cups water
1 pkg. long grain & wild rice mix
1 envelope chicken noodle soup mix
1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup cubed cooked chicken

In large saucepan, combine water, rice and seasoning packet, and soup envelope. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in celery, carrot, and onion. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Stir in cream of chicken soup and chicken and cook 8 minutes longer. Yield: 5 servings.
Thanksgiving often means large family get-togethers, so with that in mind here's some food for thought from Jeff Foxworthy:
If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'You know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty.'

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