Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey: Tradition et Modernité

  • Thanksgiving table

Before you buy the turkey, figure out your guest list. You should allocate 250 to 400 grammes of turkey per person.
  • Frozen or fresh turkey, it's all a matter of personal...budget.  A fresh bird is more expensive, but will save you time and precious refrigerator space. Buy the bird the day before you wish to roast it.  A frozen turkey needs to be defrosted, slowly defrost it in the refrigerator. Allow one day per 1,2 kilo. A 3-Kg turkey will require three days to defrost thoroughly.  An alternate method is to defrost the bird in a cold water bath. Allow 1 hour per 1/2 kilo. That 3-Kg turkey will require circa 7½ hours to defrost using this approach. Keep cool , time is the essence in Loving Food and it is always possible to use a combination of these methods.(Not recommended nevertheless)
  • Prepare the turkey for roasting: first remove the giblets! Not only is it disconcerting to find these paper-wrapped lumps when carving the bird, but you may also wish to use the giblets in your gravy or stuffing. Next, rinse the bird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels or airdry blow it (if you are in the rush).
    You will need to plan ahead if buying a frozen bird as well: it can be catastrophic to find that the only turkey available for your intimate four-person dinner is a 7-Kg glacial beast.

    Stuffing and Baking:

    • If you are stuffing the bird, stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
    • Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tie drumsticks together with string (for stuffed birds only)
    • Lastly, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone.  for those who have oven thermometer, the rest of the bunch AVOID putting a thermometer in the beast if you are not sure you will remember where you stuck it!
    • Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 175 degrees C° oven. 2 to 3 Kg will need between 3 and 41/2 hours to roast perfectly (see US cooking table below).   Bake until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but helps promote even browning.
    • Weight of Bird
      Roasting Time
      Roasting Time
      10-18 lbs
      3-3.5 hours
      3.75-4.5 hours
      15-22 lbs
      3.5-4 hours
      4.5-5 hours
      22-24 lbs
      4-4.5 hours
      5-5.5 hours
      24-29 lbs
      4.5-5 hours
      5.5-6.25 hours

      Making Gravy

      Step 1: Heat 4 cups of turkey broth, chicken broth or water--or a combination of broth and water--in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.
      Step 2: Transfer the cooked turkey from the roasting pan and set it on a cutting board to rest before carving. Remove as much grease or fat as possible from the pan using a spoon, ladle or gravy separator. Reserve ¼ cup fat.
      Step 3: Place the roasting pan over two burners on the stove on medium heat. Deglaze the pan by adding ½ cup water or other liquid (wine, turkey or chicken stock). Stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Pour off the liquid from the roasting pan into a measuring cup or the saucepan of hot turkey broth.
      Step 4: Add ¼ cup reserved fat to roasting pan over medium heat. Whisk in ¼ cup all-purpose flour. Cook gently, stirring constantly, until the flour loses its “raw” smell and the mixture becomes golden in color. Cooking the flour enhances the thickening power of the roux and adds color and nutty flavor to the gravy.
      Step 5: Whisk in the hot turkey broth and pan drippings and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until thickened.
      Step 6: Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat or serving bowl and garnish with fresh chopped sage. Other herbs and spices may suit your tastes as well; experiment with a pinch of cloves, a sprinkle of thyme and a touch of mace. 

      Modernité (Now You're talking...):
      Turkey slaughter at ThanksgivingForget all the above, regress a little, remember the smell in grandma's kitchen, the atmosphere of the family reunion, the hype around the gathering and the hope that the season's feast was bearing...
      This is the emotion yo want in your plate?  Then yes, let's prepare the Turkey the Right Way and use the features listed above.
      Then when it comes to Stuffing and Gravy, let us use a little magic, Take the view of putting some Paradise and Exotic Pleasure in your guests plates: Share the Vanilla Culture!
      Vanilla Powder Marinade (Brine Turkey):
      First we need to brining the turkey in a container large enough to submerge your turkey entirely in the brine, and then will fit in your refrigerator. Furthermore, from a food safety standpoint, it should be stored on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator so that any spills won't contaminate food below. You may use a stock pot, a bucket, or a roasting pan; if you use a shallow roasting pan, you will need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine.
      The basic ratio for turkey brine is two cups of salt ("gros sel", please!) to three litters of water. Some recipes include sweeteners or acidic ingredients to balance the saltiness.
      • Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in two cups of hot water. Stir in plus 3 ½ quarts of cold water.
      • Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours (of course you don't want to spoil the day, would you?).
      • For the Vanilla touch, Two tablespoon of Culture Vanille Vanilla Powder will do it. Add some black pepper (yes, the one you would have bought from Culture Vanille for the last BBQ!). Please remenber to reserve a further 2 spoons when you will remove and wash the brine from the Turkey, and poured them directly inside  turkey before inserting Stuffing. 
        • 2 cups Salt (Indian Ocean Gros Sel)
        • 2 cups sugar
        • 2 1/2 gallons cool water
        • 1 (12 pound) fresh, whole, bone-in skin-on turkey, rinsed and patted dry
        • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
        • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
        • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
        • 1 cup white wine, chicken broth or water
        • 2 tablespoons of Vanille et Decouverte Ltd Pure Mauritian Vanilla Powder

Vanilla Powder Pods Stuffing:
      • Ingredients

        • 1/2 cup butter
        • 1 sack giblets from one turkey
        • 1 cup diced celery
        • 1/2 cup chopped onion
        • salt and pepper to taste
        • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
        • 8 cups dry bread cubes
        • 1 cup chicken broth
        • 2 tablespoons of Vanille et Decouverte Ltd Pure Mauritian Vanilla Powder

        • Chop giblets and cook in butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, 2 minutes. Stir in celery and onion and cook with 1 tablespoon of Vanilla powder until tender, but not brown. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and the remaining Vanilla Powder.
        • Place bread crumbs in a large bowl. Toss with giblet mixture and enough broth to lightly moisten the bread. Use stuffing to stuff an 5 Kg turkey, or bake separately, in a 2 quart dish, covered, 40 to 45 minutes in a 190 degree C oven.

Vanilla Touch Roasting:
    •  Mix the softened butter with the pepper. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan. Rub the seasoned butter under the skin. Brush the skin with the melted butter. Pour the 1 cup liquid (wine, broth or water mixed together with 1/2 tablespoon of Pure Vanilla powder) over the pan bottom to prevent drippings from burning. Roast turkey at 180 degrees C° for 25 minutes, baste and then rotate the roasting pan. Continue roasting until the skin turns golden brown, an additional 25 minutes; baste again. Reduce oven temperature to 125 degrees C°; continue to roast, basting and rotating the pan once about halfway through cooking, until the *internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F for turkey breast meat and 180 degrees F for turkey thigh meat. Remove the turkey from the oven. 
      • Serving: Let stand covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes before carving. it will enhance the smoothness and the vanilla exhalaisons will operate its last magic touch.  
      Vanilla Speed System:
          • Alternatively with or without brining, one could prior to the cooking, open thoroughly the Supreme (whites) and place in each one pod of Vanilla (preferably Vanille et Decouverte Label Premium Mauritius Vanilla pods) and close the opening, thus letting the vanilla exhales directly through the skin inside the Turkey...This is a very simple way to operate a magic Vanilla touch albeit it will not put the wonders at full throttle.
          •  If pressed for time, use twice as much salt, sugar and Vanilla Powder in the brine and cut soaking time to just 2 hours.

      Recette disponible aussi en Français pour les vrais amateurs

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