LAUREN GROVEMAN MNBC COOKIE LADY COOKS TURKEY!
.......hmmmm What's That Incredible Smell?
Perfect Roast Turkey Yield: serves 8 generously
Roasting a turkey to perfection can sometimes be difficult and often
causes much anxiety to home cooks -- especially at holiday time when so
many things are going on in the kitchen! The hope is always that the
darker thigh area will be cooked thoroughly without leaving the delicate
breast meat overcooked and dry.
To ensure a juicy turkey, I carefully turn the bird as it roasts. This way one side of the bird is never overexposed to excessive periods of dry heat. Also, stuffing a turkey
lengthens the cooking time by about forty-five minutes. So, by not
stuffing the cavity, the white meat has less chance of becoming dry. I
recommend that you bake the stuffing in a separate covered casserole.
Purchase a fresh turkey if possible for best flavor and texture.
If serving a crowd, I suggest using two twelve-pound birds instead of one
enormous turkey; the younger (smaller) bird is not only more tender and
cooks quicker, but the extra bird provides more legs and wings to go
around. Whether or not I stuff my turkey, I usually truss (sew) the
cavity shut, secure the legs together and fold the wing tips down and
under the bird. This not only helps to maintain the best appearance
through roasting but the compact position of the bird makes it easier to
turn over while roasting. In this recipe, the poultry is sprinkled
liberally with a mixture of dry spices, which are "rubbed" into the bird
using vegetable oil as a lubricant -- a method of cooking that has been
used for many years in the West Indies.
Lawry's seasoned salt is a spice blend that has no MSG
(no headache) and (when used sparingly) is particularly
complementary to poultry. OR MAKE YOUR OWN SPICE!
Special Equipment: Large stainless steel roasting pan with sturdy
roasting rack Trussing needle Kitchen twine Blender Bulb baster Flat
gravy whisk Fine-mesh wire sieve
1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, cleaned and thinly sliced
About 6 whole black peppercorns
Vegetable spray or oil, for roasting rack
1 turkey (about 12 pounds) (See: "Tips from a Teacher.")
Onion powder* (not onion salt)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Seasoned salt* or kosher salt
Sweet Hungarian paprika*
For the cavity:
1 recipe Everything but the Kitchen Sink Stuffing or
onion, 1 stalk celery, and 2 sprigs parsley
Flavorless vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey
1 1/2 sticks (1/4 pound plus 4 tablespoons) lightly salted
butter or margarine
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
For the Gravy:
2 to 2 1/2 cups hot Rich Chicken Stock or "Doctored" Canned
(page 143 for both)
1/2 cup dry white wine or 1/2 cup of the chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
2 medium-sized fresh button mushrooms (optional), wiped clean
minced or coarsely chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cream or milk (optional)
1) To set up to roast: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place carrot, onion,
celery and peppercorns into the bottom of a large nonreactive roasting
pan. Place a metal roasting rack over the vegetables to raise up the
turkey as it roasts, giving it full heat exposure (that's the secret to
successful roasting). Spray rack with vegetable spray or brush with oil.
2) To clean and season turkey: Remove neck, liver and gizzards from
turkey, reserving all but the liver for the stock. Thoroughly rinse and
dry turkey, trimming away any excess fat from the cavity opening.
Sprinkle the inside of the cavity with onion powder and freshly ground
black pepper. Turn turkey (breast side down) and generously sprinkle its
back with onion powder, then with freshly ground pepper, then lightly
with seasoned salt and finally with sweet paprika. Turn turkey over and
season breast, legs and wings in the same order as the back. Using your
hands, rub vegetable oil generously over the backs, sides and top of
3) To stuff turkey: If planning to stuff turkey, prepare stuffing as
directed and spoon it loosely into the cavity (don't overfill since
stuffing will expand as turkey roasts). If not using stuffing, peel and
quarter onion, clean and halve celery and place in cavity with parsley.
4) To truss turkey: Thread a 12- to 14-inch piece of kitchen twine
through a trussing needle and tie a knot at the bottom end of the
string. Starting at the top of the cavity (in front of the breast bone),
sew through both side flaps of fleshy skin until you reach the bottom of
the cavity. Pull to secure closed and use the remaining string to wind
around the knobby ends of the drumsticks (while pulling) to bring them
together. Tie in a knot to secure the legs in place and clip off loose
ends of strings. The bony tips of the wings should be bent downward to
sit underneath the turkey. Place turkey (breast side up), on the
prepared roasting rack.
5) To prepare garlic butter: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
When bubbling, reduce heat to low, add garlic and sauté until garlic is
soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour garlic butter into a blender
and whirl until smooth. Spoon half the melted garlic butter over
6) To roast turkey: Roast turkey in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Then remove roasting pan from oven and carefully turn turkey breast side
down (use the knobs of the drumsticks to move the bird.) Reduce oven
temperature to 325°F and roast 1 1/2 hours longer. Turn bird over once
more (breast side up) and pour on the remaining garlic butter. Roast
another 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting frequently with pan
juices using a bulb baster. As the skin becomes crisp and golden, check
turkey frequently for signs of doneness (see Tips from a Teacher) and
remember, an unstuffed turkey roasts quicker than a stuffed one. When
fully cooked, remove turkey from oven and let it rest on the roasting
rack (loosely tented with aluminum foil) over a platter or carving
surface for 10 to 20 minutes so the juices settle.
7) To prepare neck and gizzard: While turkey is roasting, simmer neck
and gizzard (never the liver which makes the stock bitter) in 2 cups of
the chicken stock until tender, about 30 minutes for the neck and 1 hour
for the tougher gizzard. Pull meat off neck and shred or chop it; chop
the gizzard as well. Set aside stock, chopped neck and gizzard for the
8) To deglaze roasting pan: While roasted turkey rests, pour off all but
2 tablespoons of drippings from the roasting pan. (Keep all those
browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan along with the
vegetables.) Set roasting pan over medium-high heat. Pour in wine or 1/2
cup chicken stock and, using a gravy whisk or a wooden spatula, move the
ingredients around the bottom of the pan to combine the caramelized
browned bits of vegetables, drippings and wine. Simmer until liquid is
reduced by 1/2, occasionally pressing on the vegetables to extract any
remaining flavor. Pour reserved hot chicken stock over the reduced wine
and vegetables, still stirring and mashing down on the vegetables with a
wooden spatula. Stir this mixture and simmer over low heat for 3 to 5
9) To make gravy: Melt butter in a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over
medium heat. When bubbling, add minced shallot and chopped mushrooms, if
using. sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes, then sprinkle
on flour, stirring to combine. Cook mixture over medium heat another 2
minutes, stirring constantly. Place a fine-meshed sieve over the
saucepan and carefully pour the simmering stock mixture from the
roasting pan into the sieve. Press hard on the solids as you force the
enriched stock through and into the pot; discard the solids. Stir to
combine stock with contents of saucepan; then stir in reserved chopped
neck meat and gizzards, and simmer over low heat until hot and well
combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and
keep the gravy warm over low heat until the turkey is carved and ready
Perfect Roast Chicken
A 6- to 8-pound roasting chicken or 2 smaller birds can be perfectly
roasted with very few changes to the preceding turkey recipe. Stuffing
the bird, whether with stuffing or aromatic vegetables, as well as
trussing, is an optional step. Use only 5 tablespoons butter and 4
garlic cloves and pour all the garlic butter over chicken before
roasting. Roast chicken(s) (breast side-up), in a preheated 375°F
without turning, basting occasionally with pan juices (frequently once
chicken begins to become crisp). Roasting time will vary from 1 hour and
15 minutes to 2 1/2 hours, depending on size of chicken(s). (For
criteria on done-ness, see Tips from a Teacher.) When making the gravy,
the neck, gizzards, shallot and mushrooms are all optional additions.
The chicken need only rest about 10 minutes before carving.
Time Management Tips: The turkey or chicken may be fully cleaned and
seasoned 1 day ahead and refrigerated overnight in a bowl (covered with
plastic wrap or aluminum foil). Do not stuff turkey until just before
roasting. All of the vegetables that are placed underneath the bird
while it roasts may be prepared 1 day ahead and kept covered in the
refrigerator. The mushrooms and shallots for the gravy may be chopped 1
day ahead and kept in separate well-covered bowls in the refrigerator.
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