Spend Less, Eat Better: Not Too Late to Make Your Bird Great
By Deborah Salomon
A look through November food magazines indicates that the all-American Thanksgiving turkey has undergone multiple -adaptations, some of them dangerous, like frying.
The U.S. Fire Administration reports 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires resulting in five deaths, a portion caused by deep-fryers. Let's hope this fad passes.
Of course there are turkeys and there are turkeys, with North Carolina in the top three turkey-producing states.
Some families will enjoy a farm-raised, free-range, organic bird costing more than double the frozen supermarket variety. These fresh birds are usually a few weeks older, giving them a "finish" - a thin layer of fat in response to colder temperatures, which adds flavor. That doesn't mean a deep-cut special can't be moist and juicy.
I have two methods which - instead of a new rub or stuffing - bear repeating: Brine that bird. This afternoon or evening scrub an insulated cooler or large plastic tub with hot soapy water; rinse well.
Unwrap thawed turkey, removed giblets bag, place in container, pour on a bag of ice. Dissolve ? cup sugar in a cup of hot water. Mix with ? cup salt, ? cup vinegar and a bottle of inexpensive dry white wine into a gallon of water. Pour brine over turkey and ice. Cover container tightly and stash in a cool place. Turn turkey once. An hour before roasting, remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly inside and out, pat dry with a towel.
Turkey-in-a-blanket: Time turkey to be done an hour before dinner. Ten minutes before time is up, uncover bird and raise oven temp to 400 degrees. After 10 minutes browning, remove turkey from oven, uncover, siphon off juices for gravy and quickly recover with a double layer of heavy-duty foil, sealing edges securely. Now cover turkey with a clean blanket or quilt, folded double, tucking edges under the roasting pan. Set aside.
This frees up the oven for side dishes that last crucial hour. At serving time, uncover the steaming turkey. The juicy meat will slice without shredding.
Food safety has always been a concern at Thanksgiving. Salmonella and other bacteria are killed when internal -temperature reaches 165 degrees. However, stuffing in a very large turkey may not reach that temperature. To ensure safety when bird is done, scoop out stuffing, break into hunks, cover and microwave 2-3 minutes until steaming hot.
Take the time to remove all meat from carcass immediately after dinner. Store in -shallow refrigerator containers with tight lids. As for implements, kitchen stores usually have a holiday turkey tools department. Really, you need just four: a roasting -cradle, a baster with glass or metal shaft, poultry shears for disjointing and a super-sharp, non-serrated, medium-length knife.
Forgive the repetition; about this time every year my emails start requesting "the blanket thing." What can I say? It's magic.
Contact Deborah Salomon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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