|(NAPSI)-To help you save time and trouble and turn out a beautiful bird (or two), "Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking" author and television host Nathalie Dupree offers these clever turkey time tricks.|
"I rarely cook a turkey larger than 14 pounds, and find it easier to roast two smaller ones than one larger one. A large turkey takes longer to cook, and is more difficult to handle and store. Two small turkeys allows one of them to be roasted and carved ahead of time, and the other to be the 'showpiece' on the table," she explains.
"Rather than stuff the turkey," she adds, "I flavor it with an onion, carrot and a few herbs. Herbs enhance the flavor of the turkey, when tucked inside the cavity. If a rack is not available, the onions and carrots can form a resting place for the turkey. I add stock to keep the bottom from burning and to ensure a scrumptious gravy. This creates a bit of steam, so take care when opening and closing the oven."
As for thawing a frozen turkey, she says, it's best to do so in a refrigerator that's at 40 degrees or cooler. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every four to five pounds of turkey.
Apple Cider−Brined Turkey
Serves 8 to 10
1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, fresh or thawed
1 quart apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
3 onions, quartered, divided
3 carrots, divided
3 red cooking apples, cut in quarters
Chopped fresh herbs to taste, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, optional
Preheat oven to 450° F. Remove any parts that are in the interior of the turkey. Bring apple cider, one tablespoon of salt per pound of turkey and the 1/2 cup of brown sugar to boil in large pot. Add 1 quart water. Cool to room temperature. Add turkey to the liquid in the pot, making sure it is submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove from brine and pat dry with paper towels. If a crisper skin is desired, leave uncovered in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Oil a large roasting pan and rack, set aside. Add half the onions, carrots and apples, with the herbs, to turkey cavity. If using a rack, put the remaining apples and vegetables UNDERNEATH in the roasting pan. If not, put the carrots in the center of the pan, with the onions surrounding them. Truss bird or tie its legs together and move to the rack or on top of the vegetables. Brush turkey with butter or oil, particularly the breast. Add enough stock to come 1−2 inches up the sides of bird. Turn turkey breast side down and roast for 1 hour. When removing turkey from oven, open door carefully, watching out for steam. If stock has boiled down to less than 1 inch up the sides, add more to bring it up to 2 inches. Flip the turkey, breast side up and return it to oven and roast for another hour. (Cover with foil if browning too much.) Check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer-it should read 170° F inserted in the thigh-or remove when juices run clear when a knife is inserted in the flesh of the thigh.
For Gravy Recipe and Nathalie's Apple, Sausage, Greens and Biscuit Dressing, go to Chefschoice.com/recipes/.
"Be sure to sharpen your knife before carving your bird. Sharp knives are safer, prevent shredding and save time. I use the Chef'sChoice XV because it is easy and reliable," says Dupree.
Fortunately, you don't have to be an expert to put a razor-sharp edge on your knife. The Chef'sChoice highly acclaimed electric sharpener XV Edge Select applies a flawless, durable, triple-bevel Trizor XV edge while precision guides eliminate guesswork. Cook's Illustrated, published by America's Test Kitchen, "Highly Recommended" the Chef'sChoice Trizor XV model. For help finding a sharpener that's right for you, call (800) 342-3255 or visit Chefschoice.com.
After the turkey is cooked (meat thermometer should read 170° F when inserted in the thickest part of the turkey), cool the bird for 15 minutes. Cooling makes the meat firmer and easier to slice. Remove and set aside the turkey legs and the last joint of each wing. Make a long, deep (to the bone) horizontal "base cut "into the breast just above the wing.
Slice down vertically through the breast until you meet the original base cut. This will release perfect, even slices. Following these preparations and carving tips can help make your Thanksgiving a meal to remember.
To carve a turkey right, make sure the knife you use is sharp, advises cookbook author and chef Nathalie Dupree.
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