Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not Your Grandmother's Roast Turkey

Okay, okay, before you get all huffy, I am sure you grandmother makes incredible turkey. Most grandmothers do. I know, because mine do. I am NOT in any way taking that away from them!

But, I am willing to bet that they do not make their turkeys like this :) Since Thanksgiving is headed our way, I thought I would prompt you a bit. Do not be afraid of the turkeys. It is not all that difficult to cook a turkey, although it takes awhile. Since turkey is probably on sale at your local grocer for about a third of the price it normally is, this is a terrific time to try it. You will not be disappointed.

I love turkey. But I hate celery. For years (alright, twice), I stuffed my turkey with celery and carrots. Then somewhere along the line, I came across a secret ingredient. I tried it and all was good.

Then awhile later, I came across a chicken recipe that added a different secret ingredient. I put them together and I loved it.

THEN, I discovered a different way to cook the turkey. I did all three and ended up in heaven.

NOTE: You must begin with a THAWED the turkey!! If yours is frozen, put it into the refrigerator at least one day ahead. Some people brine their turkey, but I don't have a big enough container, so I just skip that step. No problem, this turkey will have plenty of flavor.

Inside your (thawed) turkey is a multitude of packages that should not be cooked. Look in the opening at the front. The neck is in there. Some people enjoy eating the necks of poultry. I do not. Either way, it is wrapped in plastic, so we want to at least take that off.
In the back of the turkey are the "giblets." Again, some people prepare these. To each his own.
In this turkey, I also found a gravy packet. Rinse this off an put it into the refrigerator. Probably to be forgotten when it is time to make the gravy.
Rinse off your turkey and place it into a heavy roasting pan. You can use the aluminum ones to save on clean up. The key here is to get the turkey off the bottom so it doesn't soak up all the grease.
Now we are going to stuff the turkey. Add in a stick of butter.
Secret ingredient #1: APPLES! This is going to give your turkey incredible flavor. Think about it. Do you want your turkey to have a hint of apple or a hint of celery? Pick the apple. Trust me. Quarter one. Along with an onion. I normally add in garlic, as well, but I seem to be out.
Stuff the onion quarters into the back of the bird.
Alternate with some apples. We are not going to eat the apples, so it doesn't matter if the seeds are still in there. If it bothers you, you can take them out.
A full turkey...

Ready for Secret Ingredient #2...Yes, Coca-cola. Pour a can into the back of the turkey over all the onions and apples. It's fine if it runs out. The Coke not only adds in a bit of flavor, but the liquid (acid) gets up into the meat and really makes the turkey come out tender and juicy.

Trust me. And pretend there is a picture here...

Some people like to coat their turkey with butter. I don't. I think it dries it out. So I coat mine with olive oil.
Use your hands and make sure it is coated.
Secret Cooking Method. This idea came from Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. He is a DJ out of Dallas that I used to listen to on my way to school. I encourage you to listen in if you can because the crew is really funny and they do some incredible things for kids with terminal illnesses. Anyway, he talked about this method one Thanksgiving and I was intrigued...

Put the turkey and pan into a brown paper bag. I have noticed that these are getting harder and harder to find, but they are out there.
I close mine with a couple of clothes pins. That way I can check on the turkey while it is cooking. Mist the top of the bag with water so the air can move in and out.
Cook at 350. The amount of time will depend on how big of a turkey you have. Check the wrapping. It will tell you how many pounds of turkey you have. It takes about 20 minutes for each pound of turkey. This one cooked for 3 hours (12 pounds). The little red thing will pop out when it is cooked through, but it is always a good idea to check it with a meat thermometer. It should read 170 when put into the thigh of the turkey.
Doesn't that look incredible?

Give it a try. You can do it. You will not be disappointed.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Roast Turkey
1 8-12 Pound Turkey, thawed
1 Apple, quartered
1 Onion, quartered
5 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Stick Butter
1 Can Coca-Cola
Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 375o. Remove giblets from the turkey. Place turkey in pan. Add apple, onion, garlic and butter to turkey cavity. Pour cola into cavity. Rub turkey all over with olive oil. Cover turkey and pan with large brown paper bag. Staple shut. Sprinkle bag with water. Place turkey in oven on middle rack. It is extremely important that the bag is not in contact with the heating element of the oven!!! Cook 13-15 minutes per pound until a meat thermometer reads 170.


Nama Mary said...

How does this affect the flavor of the gravy made from the turkey drippings???

Tracie said...

It does give the gravy a little sweeter than most people are expecting. A little sweeter with a noticeable apple overtone. I like to balance it out with a bit more salt and pepper than I would use for gravy otherwise.