Monday, November 15, 2010

40 Days Until Christmas......How to Make a Moist Turkey

One way to keep your sanity is to plan ahead. That means meal planning if you are living a busy life trying to juggle all your responsibilities of home, life and work. When I come across something that is easy to make and tastes great I love to pass it on. So yesterday I made a turkey that had been in a brine for 24 hours. I just can't help myself and want to share it with you., because I learned in school to always share.


The sad tale of turkeys goes way back with me. You see, I am not a rock star when it comes to making the bird. First, I hate to touch it. This has left me with the unfortunate disaster of cooking "the parts" all in their handy pouch inside the bird. Second, it is heavy. I have been known to cook it upside down. However it falls on the cooking sheet, I basically leave it where it falls. But then I heard that if you cook it breast side down, it makes for a juicier bird. I rejoiced that I wasn't an idiot and it helped with my next issue which is, I do not cook a moist bird. Despite the breast side down technique, I just can not master the art of having a juicy bird. In fact my son said to me just recently, "mom, can you just make a turkey that isn't so dry?" I have since banished him to the basement and took away all electronic devices for this true cruel comment.

So alas, what is a girl to do? I of course had to see what my friend The Pioneer Woman had up her sleeve. You see, she is a rock star of cooking and of many other things. I turn to her when I am stumped with something to feed my hungry troops. She has never let me down as she is only a mouse click away. Guess what? She had a turkey recipe that I thought I should try. Make a brine......I always wanted to do that. Sounds fancy, but isn't. The promise of a moist bird.....I love it! Buy a fresh bird, nor frozen.....better yet as I hate thawing that bird out in my fridge for a week two days. Bonus was it was on the weekend and my hubby was home and he could handle the raw bird. Guess what? No parts were left in the cavity this time. Rejoice! Well, I made it and the reviews are in..........it was MOIST and TASTY. I made just a turkey breast as it is so much easier to handle and smaller as I could keep it in a pot to brine as opposed to a brineing bag (my store did not carry these). I cooked it at 375 degrees until it had reached the temperature of 180 degrees. We bushed butter on it to give it a deep mahogany color. Stuffed a cut up lemon in it to give it some extra flavor. I did cut the brine in half as I was only using the breast.

I took a picture with my great camera, but the file is to big to upload. Trust me, it is a beautiful bird. Well honestly, the bird was mostly eaten by the time I took the picture as I was in shock that it actually tasted great and was moist.



The Pioneer Woman's Turkey Brine

Ingredients

3 cups Apple Juice Or Apple Cider
2 gallons Cold Water
4 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves
5 cloves Garlic, Minced
1-½ cup Kosher Salt
2 cups Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Peppercorns
5 whole Bay Leaves
Peel Of Three Large Oranges

Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover.

Allow to cool completely, then pour into a large brining bag or pot. Place uncooked turkey in brine solution, then refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours.

When ready to roast turkey, remove turkey from brine. Submerge turkey in a pot or sink of fresh, cold water. Allow to sit in clean water for 15 minutes to remove excess salt from the outside.

Discard brine. Remove turkey from clean water, pat dry, and cook according to your normal roasting method.

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