Food Fashion and Flow: Guest Post! Danielle Celeste - The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever!   

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guest Post! Danielle Celeste - The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever!


Tracking Turkey...


I am thrilled to introduce you to Danielle Celeste of Danielle Celeste Couture! Danielle is sharing a fabulous recipe and detailed instructions on how to make an amazing Thanksgiving Turkey! You can visit Danielle's blog here.  I will continue featuring more recipes from my kitchen to yours over the next couple of days. Check in this afternoon for another great recipe!  And now here are photos of Danielle's amazing turkey and instructions so you can achieve the same delicious results! Thanks Danielle for sharing your amazing recipe with my readers:-)

THE BEST TURKEY EVER!!

"You have outdone yourself." That is what I heard when I took my turkey to the yearly Harvest party at my church.

There are two things you need to know about my Turkey Quest. I wanted to make THE BEST TURKEY EVER and....I HATE TURKEY!!!! A complex psychological analysis could be made from those contradictory statements....but we're talking turkey. No time for that.

There are a few stages to this process: Begin with the end in mind. Reverse-engineer your process backwards  from the time the triangle rings " Dinner's ready" to the time you start thawing.  

  • THAWING
  • BRINING
  • COOKING

For the Thawing, I HAD A 25 Lb. Turkey that had been in my freezer for at least a year and a half maybe two. I told you I hate turkey. 

**MYTH BUSTER: A Turkey that has been in the freezer for two years is FINE. If there are no tears in the original wrapping, you will find beautiful skin and meat after thawing.

FOR THAWING my 25 lb turkey, it took 5 WHOLE DAYS. You seriously need to plan for thawing. There are many helpful charts and graphs on numerous sites on the web regarding thawing time.

You can thaw in the fridge or submerged in cold water (which is faster if you are pressed for time). I chose to thaw in the fridge. It takes longer but assures that MAGIC 40 DEGREES F which Turkey must be at all times to avoid bacterial growth.

TO BRINE OR NOT TO BRINE:
I tell you what- people are dead serious about their turkeys out there. And Brining is a MAJOR point of controversy. I had never brined a turkey before so I was absorbing all the arguments for and against. The most compelling argument AGAINST was: someone said that the turkey meat nearest the bones looked raw-ish after cooking a brined turkey. That was enough to dissuade me, but I forged ahead with my Brining Dreams. And let me tell you, IT IS NOT TRUE. The meat looked beautiful throughout. So don't believe everything you read, go with your gut.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR BRINING:

  • 5 GALLON FOOD GRADE CONTAINER
  • 8 QUARTS OF WATER
  • 2 C. BROWN SUGAR
  • 2 C. KOSHER SALT
  • DRIBS AND DRABS OF HONEY
  • A COUPLE OF T. ALLSPICE
  • A FEW SPRIGS FRESH ROSEMARY
  • TONS OF GARLIC
  • LOTS OF BLACK PEPPERCORNS
  • 8 OR SO FRESH ORANGES OR 3 OR 4 C. ORANGE JUICE



PREPARING THE BRINING LIQUID:

**THE BASIC RULE OF THUMB IS ONE GALLON LIQUID TO ONE CUP KOSHER SALT**.

You will need to BOIL A LARGE POT OF WATER and put all the ingredients listed above except the oranges.

  • TASTE IT.
  • Is that  how you want your turkey to taste?
  • Add something else. Let inspiration move you.
  • Be inventive and creative.
  • I recommend putting the salt in last of all. To taste.

**THE BASIC RULE OF THUMB IS BRINE THE TURKEY FOR ONE HOUR PER POUND.**

So, my 25 pound turkey should be brined for a full 24 hours. I only brined it for 12 hours because I had time constraints. and it still absorbed plenty of flavor.

PLACING THE TURKEY IN THE BRINING LIQUID:

  • Make sure it is thawed and rinsed.
  • Delicately separate the skin from the meat with your finger so the meat will REALLY absorb the flavors of the brine.
  • Make sure the boiled brining liquid has cooled to 40 DEGREES F. Pour it over Turkey in the 5 GALLON BUCKET.
  • Halve your oranges and fresh-squeeze the juice over the turkey and throw the orange halves in.
  • Cover the turkey to submerge it  with water or chicken stock if you want.
  • Place in Fridge and WATCH IT BRINE!!

  • After the allotted brining time is complete, take turkey out and rinse twice. Save your brine.
  • Allow turkey to dry in the fridge. Not on the counter.

COOKING TIPS:

  • A Turkey is done when your thermometer reads 165 DEGREES F.
  • Add a cup of your brine to the bottom of the pan.
  • Use a shallow sided pan. I used a large lasagne pan with 3 inch sides for a 25 pound bird. Dispense with these monstrous roasting pans. The high sides do not allow the turkey skin to get yummy and CRISPY.
  • Cooking time for a 25 pound bird is 4 3/4 to 5 1/2 hours. If you stuff your turkey (and DO stuff your bird) it is a little bit longer. There are numerous websites with helpful charts and graphs. Google it.

WHEN YOUR BIRD IS IN THE PAN:

  • Smear butter delicately on the meat under the skin. Lots of it.
  • Place whole pieces of bacon --about 10--wherever you can under the skin. On the breast and legs. This takes a bit on manual dexterity but do it anyway.
  • Take 3 or 4 Sprigs of fresh rosemary or whatever fresh herb you want. Garlic even and put it under the skin. Slather the skin with butter.
  • DO NOT SALT SKIN. The brining has done that.
  • Stuff the turkey.

I placed a whole apple under the flap of skin at the neck and another one at the cavity where the stuffing goes. You can choose to put anything there. An orange, a whole head of elephant garlic. Whatever flavor with which you want to infuse the turkey.

YOU ARE READY TO GIVE YOUR BIRD A SUNTAN:

  • Place your pan with bird on a lowered rack.
  • Cook at 325. No need to preheat the oven.
  • Let your turkey brown slightly at the beginning then cover with a foil tent.

Take the turkey out a three or four times and remove excess juices into a separate bowl. Baste the turkey while you do this. A large syringe works best for this. SAVE THESES JUICES FOR YOUR GRAVY!!

Too much juice in the bottom of the pan makes the skin too wet and slimy.  WE WANT CRISPY SKIN!!

  • During the final HALF HOUR: Remove foil tent. I used a teriyaki glaze during this last phase to give a BEAUTIFUL GOLDEN GLOW to the skin of the turkey.
  • During the last 30 min of baking brush orange Teriyaki glaze liberally on turkey and put back in oven.Turn oven up to 500 if necessary to brown. but watch closely to avoid burning it.
  • Remove the Turkey and let it rest. It's been working hard.
  • To carve, refer to many helpful sites on the internet. Google it.
In the Final Analysis:
  • Be Creative. It is YOUR turkey. make it taste how you want it to  taste.
  • Source from as many recipes as you want. Take the best of each recipe and forget the rest.

  • Have it your goal to make the BEST TURKEY EVER. YOU CAN HAVE THAT!!

  • MAKE A MAGNIFICENT ROAST BIRD AND IMAGINE SERVING A TURKEY LEG TO KING HENRY THE VIII. Remember what he did to his wives. It better be good.




Photobucket

8 comments:

sacramento said...

If I wasn´t vegetarian I think I would love it.
Any vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes going?
I adore Danielle, she is such an artist.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

LV said...

Hi Sweetness, yes, stay tuned there will be a couple of vegetarian recipes coming:-)

Bon Appetit

Bad Joan said...

That turkey looks amazing!

GTBB,
http://badjoan.blogspot.com
http://cookingjoan.blogspot.com

Jasmine said...

that's a fantastic recipe. the turkey looks FAB! :)

hope you're having a good wknd. :)

xoxo
jasmine
adamalexmommy.com

Top Cuisine avec Lavi said...

this turkey looks amazing! Have a good day!

Shasie said...

I will have to save and archive this post until I have a family!! Great tips
Shasie of Live Life in Style

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