Friday, November 20, 2009

[recipe] Fakesgiving the Third Turkey

Last sunday was our annual Fakesgiving dinner, where we invite the kids over to the house and force feed them before they are kicked out of the dorms. This year was quite an impressive feat, in which I cooked a 23 lb turkey (to perfection, IMO) that got devoured!

This recipe takes the guidelines from Martha Stewart's Turkey 101 and some ideas I found in a Jamie Oliver cookbook.

23 lb turkey
1 bottle white wine (dry and un/lightly oaked like a chardonet)
1 lb apples
1 lb onions
1 lb bacon
2 heads good garlic, or 6 from the supermarket
1 stick salted butter
Rosemary sprigs for stabbing
Thyme, rosemary salt and pepper to taste

Big ass roasting pan, with rack
Meat thermometer
Turkey button (just in case)
Basting brush or, well, a turkey baster
Wood toothpicks
Cooking twine, or enough completely natural fiber string/yarn to tie legs together (you can test if it burns in the oven before cooking)

Prep time: 1 hr
Cooking time: 6.5 hrs

1) Quarter all apples but one and all of the onions and let marinate in the wine with 2/3 of the garlic over night.
2) Take giblets out of the thawed turkey and rinse out the cavity.
3) Mince 1/3 of your garlic and mix with butter, herbs, salt and pepper.
4) Chop up half of the packet of bacon.
5) Carefully separate the skin off of the breast, leaving it intact. Tack down the neck flap and fill in the skin/breast pocket with the butter mixture and bacon pieces.
6) Make 12 rolls out of a couple of inches of rosemary staking a chunk of garlic and wrapping it in a two inch piece of bacon.
7) Fill the cavity with the apple, onion and the rest of the garlic pieces, and save the wine for basting. Use leftover apple to plug cavity and tie the legs around it.
8) Puncture each thigh 6 times with a sharp knife and stick a rosemary roll in each.
9) Tent with a sheet of aluminium.

The turkey is now ready to go into the oven, at 325 F. You will need to pull it out every 30 minutes to baste with the wine.

10) Around the middle of your cooking time, or when skin starts to get crispy, cover breast with a layer of the remaining bacon.

Use the weight of the stuffed turkey to calculate the cooking time (about 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz). This 25 lb monstrosity took about 6.5 hrs. Turkey is ready when button pops, or when you stick the instant read thermometer in the meatiest part of the turkey it reads 180.

In the meantime, use the giblets and neck to make gravy. You can boil them in some stock for the whole time the turkey is roasting. Season towards the end, and use flour or corn starch to thicken. These should both be incorporated by mixing in a separate bowl with not-boiling liquid to avoid clumps, and then adding little by little to the sauce pan.

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