Saturday, December 3, 2011
Good Eats Roast Turkey
Recipe by Alton Brown
Husband-Tested in Alice's Kitchen
This turned out to be one tasty bird. To get ready for this year’s Thanksgiving feast, I searched for a recipe online, which had lots of great reviews. Alton Brown’s recipe along with his step-by-step videos fit the bill. (He includes some great tips in these videos.) I purchased a free-range, organic fresh turkey from Lost River Market & Deli, our community-owned grocery store. Next time you are in charge of the holiday bird, give this recipe a try.
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey (I used a fresh turkey, which saves the thawing.) step
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Dry Sherry and/or Chicken Broth
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. (Make a large triangle shape of foil to fit over the breast of the turkey to prevent it from over browning. To see how this is done, watch the video.) Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F.
As the turkey roasts, you can add a bit of dry sherry and/or chicken broth to the sheet pan, about 1/3 cup at a time.
A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
Place the sheet pan over the burners of the stovetop. Add a bit of dry sherry or chicken broth, scraping the browned bits to deglaze the pan. Pour into a measuring cup to use for making the gravy.