I found myself with a very large turkey after the holidays were over, which was very exciting to meal plan with. One delicious gem I made was a turkey pot pie. Turkey can be so dry if not prepared properly but smothering it in this pot pie will never feel dry!
Every Sunday morning at 8 am I recap the week, share what I learned and showcase some of my work!
I decided to take on the challenge of hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year... Apparently I crave kitchen related chaos!
So I slapped on my favorite apron (equipped with it's own pearls) and went to work! I was absolutely obsessed with having the best and moist turkey possible!! So first came scouring the internet to mash up some of the best and brightest ideas from my favorite chefs on the internet. It didn't take long to realize this was going to be a huge project to take on- the bird's gotta sit in a sweet salty brine for a MINIMUM of 8 hours... But hey like I said whats life without whimzy...
The recipe I ended up collaborating together was as followed...
1.5L hot water
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups coarse salt
1.5L cold water
1 container (I think it was like 940ml or somethin...) vegetable broth
Find yourself the biggest container you can find! Some internet peeps were using a giant cooler to be able to soak their turkey properly... Those guys also replaced the 1.5L of cold water with ice to ensure the bird stayed food safe. Mine however was nowhere near that big and I managed to cram it into my fridge for the night.
See theeere's the big guy! ... Literally the cheapest turkey money could buy.
So! To make our lovely brine- pour the hot water into your tub and dissolve the sugar and salt into the water. Add cold water (or ice) and chicken broth.
Let the turkey soak for 8-12 hours.
Originally my plan was to wake up at 5am on Thanksgiving to ensure my bird would be ready for oven time at 1pm... But as the day went by that dream slowly became very unattractive and staying up until 1am became muuuuch more realistic. So at 1am with plenty of wine and excitement in my heart I was ready to get 'er done!!
Making the brine takes about 3 minutes... So I started the process at 1am and at 1:05 I proceeded to bed.
~~ The Next Day!~~
Next day is Thanksgiving day! The moment of truth!
At 1pm it was time to make magic happen! First things first- removing the water logged bird from the brine- giving it a really good rinse and patting it nice and dry. Now preheat your oven to 500°F..
Yep you heard right! Make sure there's no ickies at the bottom of your oven! Cus' they will burn up!
Prep your turkey pan with a small 1/2" layer of water then place that bird in the pan.
Take some fresh thyme and sage, 1/2 an onion, 2 celery stalks and 2 carrots all roughly chopped and insert it into the turkey (Make sure not to stuff it! Stuffing it will require more cook time for the bird to be done!)
I had some random baby carrots in my freezer that were not in any state to eat... but as a flavor enhancer in my bird they worked perfectly!
Now, take some time to measure how big your turkey's breast are (This was an internet find- not my own doing) You're going to want to have a piece of tinfoil that will fit on top of the breast meat perfectly to ensure it cooks a bit slower then the dark meat. Once you have your piece of tinfoil, set it aside- you're going to need it later. Make sure shiny side is up.
Next up we are going to lather that turkey up in butter! Literally massage it right on there. Make Colonel Saunders proud!
Once the bird is lathered up it's time to start cooking. Cook your turkey uncovered at 500° for 30 minutes to seal in all that hard work that you just did! Add another 10 minutes if it doesn't look brown enough for you.
Remove the turkey from the oven and reduce the oven's temperature to 350°. Take the piece of foil we measured earlier and grease the bottom with oil/ PAM spray- whatever you have on hand and position over breast meat. This is going to ensure your white meat cooks slower then your dark meat and makes sure it isn't over cooked.
Once the oven is ready- return the bird to the oven and cook for 2-2 1/2 hours. DO NOT open the oven!! The turkey's skin has been prepped to hold in it's moisture so opening the oven to baste will do nothing but let out heat which will increase your cook time.
Your bird is ready when it's internal temperature is 161° - it will continue to cook the remaining 4° after it's been removed from the oven. Cover the turkey with more tinfoil and let it rest for 30 minutes- otherwise the moisture will all flow out and all your efforts will be for nothing.
And there he is! This turkey was an absolute piece of art and tasted absolutely spectacular! It was received by my family very well.