Showing posts with label uses for ground sage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label uses for ground sage. Show all posts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Bird is the Word: My First Turkey

It's so esteemed, yet so time consuming and technical in a way. People brag about having the opportunity to do it, and some are proud to avoid it year after year. Things can easily go wrong, leaving the cook/host embarrassed and apologetic throughout the feast. But when it's done right, the rave reviews and leftover carcass make the cook beam with pride, leaving bragging rights that linger for a year - sort of like pageantry. I`m talking about cooking a turkey. And for the first time in my 32 years on the planet, I decided to undertake the roasting of a 12lb bird, and without a recipe too.

I started defrosting the turkey 3 days prior. I wanted to brine my turkey the night before so it would be infused with a little flavour, and to give it a shot of moisture. Here's the recipe:

Brine for 12lb Turkey

1 Large Bucket
1L Chicken or Vegetable Stock (I used the latter as it was what we had on hand)
2 cups Apple Juice
1 package fresh Dill
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 red onion, sliced or rough dice
3-4 medium carrots, sliced
Water to fill

1. Mix the stock, apple juice, garlic, onions, half the salt and dill in a large bucket. Top with water to get the bucket to half full. Stir until well blended.
*Be careful not to overfill when the turkey goes in-you don't want a mess to clean up!
2. Add the turkey, legs up, and the rest of the salt and water. Cover the turkey with a plate if it's not fully submerged in the brine.
3. Leave overnight in a cool area for sanitation (I used the garage, which is like leaving it in a cold fridge this time of year). I left my turkey in the brine for 12 hours. After that time had passed, I removed the turkey from the brine and patted it dry with paper towels.

Then came time for the turkey to be massaged. I used a compound butter made by adding sage to a stick of unsalted, softened butter ahead of time.  Sage is pretty strong and can easily overpower other herbs and spices, and even ruin a dish if it's overused. It's best to start with a little, and taste as you go (even if it's just butter!) until the flavour is prominent but not overpowering. I used the full stick and buttered anywhere under the skin I could reach, pushed it farther down using the exterior skin, and gave the bird a good rubdown on top. I made the stuffing outside the bird this year but stuffed the cavity with any remaining veggies, the garlic cloves and the bay leaves from the brine.

I roasted the turkey on top of a bed of more carrots, celery and onions and under foil wrap for the first hour. When that finished, I mixed 1 part melted butter with 1 part white wine and used that to baste the chicken. From there, I basted the turkey every 30 minutes from there using the juices from the pan. I cooked the turkey until the internal temperature reached 185 degrees. After that I allowed the turkey to rest under foil for half an hour to allow the bird to rest and to retain the juices inside the bird when the time came for carving.

The turkey came out so moist and flavourful and I received rave reviews from our guests! And the leftovers disappeared within 3 days! Cooking a turkey wasn`t as scary as I thought it would be, and if I can do it so can you! Happy turkey roasting!