Who moved my turkey?

I’ve not made it yet, but I’ve been thinking about it. I can tell you that there has been some turkey action in my kitchen already. AND I will make a pre-Thanksgiving turkey turkey. It will be loved and cajoled with lots of goodness, but it doesn’t happen until later today, soooo. No post until tomorrow. Howevah (that’s a fancy Southern-drawl but) be sure to come around tomorrow, I hope to have something so sensational you’ll be happy you came.

All of this turkeypalooza is for your benefit. Yep. I do it all for you, my bloggies. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t get to eat any of it, but you could if you made it, which is why this is for you.

This post will give you a couple of ideas for the upcoming festivities. If you’ve never made turkey before, or don’t know how to spicy it up, I hope these ideas will spark the turkey fire in you.

I must first admit that I am, in fact, a briner. I am. When it comes to turkey, the birds are so large and just not fatty enough, that brining seems to be the best way to guarantee juicy plumpness. So I brine. And every year I add something new to the basic brine. But today I thought you could hear from a real Chef. I found this on CHOW yesterday, and though he doesn’t offer up a specific recipe, Michael Chiarello explains the process beautifully. I seem to be having some linking issues…, but this is the shortened link: http://bit.ly/bRwiWI

Brining does wonders for turkey, here’s what I did last year: http://wp.me/pFzw3-5V

Let’s talk a little about what I’ve been up to the last few weeks. I roasted a turkey breast. This was a little test run for the way in which I was roasting it. Wanna see?

Turkey Breast with Mexican Chorizo

 I started out with a 4ish pound chicken breast, it still had bones and skin. When brining, you decide what to flavor with, the only must haves are water, salt and sugar. Remember to exaggerate the seasonings, it will all be diluted by the water. I added 2 pkts of Sazon, salt, herbs d’Provence, some Jugo Maggi and let it hang out for about an hour.

Preheated the oven to 325 and pulled out the chorizo from the casing and flattened it for easier handling. Removed the breast from the brine, dried it with paper towels and began to loosen the skin so I could squish the chorizo in. I added chorizo everywhere I could. Then drizzled the skin with olive oil and used toothpicks to secure the skin to the meat.

In the oven it went for close to 2 hours. I checked it after 80 minutes or so and based on the thermometer, it wasn’t quite ready. I would say just over 1-1/2 hours would’ve done it. At any rate, you want the internal temperature to read 185.

Remove the toothpicks, cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes or so. Remove from the bone and slice. You’ll end up with something that looks like this.

This was excellent. We paired with bacony sweet potatoes. Heaaaaaaven!

This would be a great way to make your bird, depending on the size of it, you’d probably need about 2 packets of chorizo (approx 1/2 lb).

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

If it’s roasted, you might as well

make some roast chicken salad!

There are so many variations for this classic salad, but my favorite is from H-E-B, one of the largest grocery stores in Texas. The first time I tried theirs, I was hooked. It is pretty simple really, but the chicken is incredibly tasty because they use rotisserie chicken meat. To that they just add some celery and a bit of hot sauce to spice things up.

Since I had some leftover roasted chicken, I went ahead and used the leftovers to make a similar salad to HEB’s. I added some spice with roasted poblanos and Piment d’Espellete, but you can add or omit at will.

Roasted Chicken Salad
Makes about 4 cups

1/3 cp celery, finely chopped
1/3 cp roasted poblano pepper, finely chopped
Finely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cp mayo (use the real thing)
1/4 cp sour cream
1/2 tsp Piment d’Espellete or cayenne pepper
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cps chicken meat, roasted and cubed

Combine the first 6 ingredients until well incorporated. Taste it and adjust the salt & pepper as necessary.

Mix in the chicken.

And…, see if you can keep your fork out of it long enough to serve it.

Go on. Serve.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

How to roast a whole chicken

The perfectly roasted chicken is like a mystical unicorn or an urban legend. It always seems to happen to a friend of a friend of your second cousin. A nicely roast chicken should be flavorful, juicy and should have a beautiful golden and crisp skin. Often times you manage the beautiful skin, but the meat is bland and dry. Today I’m going to share my secret for always perfect roasted chicken.

The beauty of it is that you can use any herb you like, or what’s available. The other wonderful thing about this chicken, is that… it is SUPER easy to make and requires no fussing about. I promise. Really. You can take my word for it or my name isn’t Anamaris! And it is.

The other  cool thing with roast chicken… leftovers! At the Price household, we’re not breast lovers, but the breast makes the most delicious chicken salad ever! I do have to admit that even I enjoy just eating the breast meat, and that’s saying something. Ok, I’ll stop gushing. On to the chicken business.

When it comes to roasting the bird, the first thing is to start on its tan early on. So you would roast it at a high temperature (450°) for about 15 minutes before reducing the temp to 325° for the long haul. On average, it takes about 20 minutes per pound to roast the chicken perfectly. If you have a meat thermometer, you’ll want to insert it into the thick part of the thigh–avoiding the bone, and it should read at least 165° C.

Perfect Roast Chicken

1 4-6lb whole chicken
3-4 tbsp butter, soften
Chopped herbs–I used rosemary, Italian parsley, garlic
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper, ground
Smoked paprika
1 lemon, quartered
Rosemary stems
10-12 garlic cloves, whole & unpeeled
2 carrots, quartered
1 large onion, quartered

Preheat oven to 450°. First, remove all the innards from the chicken. Usually, they tuck the neck and giblets inside the bird; you don’t want to roast it with those in there.  You can save them to make the gravy or to make broth later. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Combine the chopped herbs, about 1/2 cp all together, with the softened butter and season with a bit of salt & pepper.

Pull away on the chicken skin and insert bits of the herb butter between the  skin and meat. Rub the skin with a bit of olive oil or leftover herb butter. Combine the salt, pepper and paprika, use it to season the cavity and the skin of the chicken. Fill the cavity with the lemon, some carrots, rosemary stem and whole garlic cloves.

Prepare the roast pan. Place the rest of the carrots, garlic cloves, onion, rosemary around the bottom of the roasting pan and rack. Place the chicken on the rack. I like to roast with the breast down, this way it benefits from the drippings from the skin and dark meat. Again, we are not breast lovers, so we choose to roast the breast at the bottom to keep it nice and moist, if you love breast and want the crisp skin on it, then roast it on top.

Pop it in the oven at 450° and cook it for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 325° and cook for just under 2 hours (for a 5-pounder). Once done, remove the chicken from the oven and allow it rest for at least 15 minutes before  carving.

You can use the drippings to make a gravy.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

No rubber duck here

I don’t remember when I first tried duck, but I think it was at a Chinese restaurant and it was their interpretation on Peking duck. I’ve liked the bird ever since, but it wasn’t until my first visit to Paris that I fell helplessly in love it.

Parisians certainly have a love affair with this winged creature. Heck, maybe all of France does, but I know for sure it rules in Paris. I can’t get enough duck confit, I’ve probably ordered it at every restaurant where it was offered. I’ve looked at recipes for it, but I’m still reluctant (read: scared witless) to prepare the confit. Quite honestly, I had not cooked duck until I tried this one.

I bought a bird a few weeks back at the farmers market and hid it away waaaaaay in the back of my little freezer. After peeking and peeping at it for weeks, I pulled it out and decided to tame the wild beast. And by wild beast I mean my fear of failing the duck.

So, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I threw caution to the air and went for it. I broke down the bird, pulling out the breasts and left the rest of the carcass intact. That evening I seared the breasts and served them with asparagus or some other veggie, I can’t remember. I overcooked them. Hubby was concerned about eating them too rare and I just let them sear for way too long. I walked away disappointed and slept in the fetal position that night.

The next day, though, the next day I nailed it! Even though I didn’t confit those little legs and thighs, the end result was similar. Tender and juicy with a slight crisp on the skin. Oh yeah, baby. And it was as easy as ordering pizza! No need for a recipe.

In a baking dish I layered the duck leg and thigh portions, these had been salted & peppered. Then I tucked chunks of carrots, together with whole, unpeeled garlic cloves in between the open spaces and threw a few sprigs of fresh thyme here and there.

It went in the oven for 2 hours or so at 300°. I just forgot about it, well, as much as you can forget about something in the oven that is permeating every room in your home with a delicious aroma.

When it came out, the skin was golden brown, crisp and perrrrrrfect. The carrots, which are not on my list of faved veggies, were incredibly good. Sweet and soft tasting of garlic, thyme and duck fat. Oh glory.

I will try making duck again. Soon. Real Soon. What do you do with duck?

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

Turkey Love

There are events that are celebrated for days, even a week at a time. Fashion Week, Mother’s Day, France’s Beaujolais Noveau Day, Valentines Day. All of these important, all celebrated on the date allotted to them. But because they’re all meaningful, they are still appreciated year-round. What about the beloved Turkey? Is it chopped liver? It is certainly treated as such. This humble, loud bird is forgotten about as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Thanksgiving Day.

POOF! It’s gone, except for the remaining carcass that may litter your fridge for a day or two. It seems people wait around all year to eat turkey one day and move on. Why? Where’s the turkey love? Even odd looking birds need love too. I have decided to show some turkey love this year by not limiting my turkey consumption to 1 day.

I will offer up some delicious turkey meals for the next few days. I will think outside of the traditional roasted turkey box and share my turkeyventures with you. Here’s Turkey 1: simple, no fuss, no basting.

Usually, I brine my turkey before roasting (more on that on a separate post). This time I wanted to treat the bird a bit differently, a little outside my comfort zone. I went for a rub of dry ingredients and olive oil. It turned out quite well.

Turkey #1 – Ginger Rubbed Turkey
For the rub:10-12 lb turkey, thawed
3 tbsp pureed garlic (about 6 cloves crushed)
1/2 tbsp each black and white pepper
2 tbsp sea salt
1-1/2 tbsp ginger powder
1/4 cp extra virgin olive oil
Remove giblets and neck from the turkey’s crevices, rinse the turkey in cool running water and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the condiments together to make a paste. Rub this paste onto the bird, both the outside skin and the inside crevices. Cover it with plastic and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.

Roasting the turkey
Preheat oven to 400°
Aromatics
1 navel orange, quartered
1/2 cp Italian parsley, roughly chopped
5 unpeeled cloves garlic
1 cp ginger slivers
2 carrots, chopped
Remove the turkey from the fridge, use a damp paper towel to wipe off the excess rub from the skin. Mix the above ingredients, add a bit of salt and pepper, then stuff this into both openings in the turkey. Pat the skin dry.

Combine 1/2 cp melted butter (1 stick) and 1/4 cp extra virgin olive olive, and brush it onto the turkey on all sides. Place the bird on your roasting rack (I like roasting all birds with the breast down-this ensures extra juicy white meat) and into the oven for 20 minutes at 400° ; this will give it a nice golden brown color. After the 20 minutes, lower the oven’s temperature to 325° and cook the turkey until the thermometer reads about 170° in the thickest part of the thigh meat.

Once the turkey reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and cover it foil. Allow it to rest covered for about 15 minutes. Remove the aromatics from the crevices before you begin carving it.

That’s it! I served it with an Onion Brown Butter Sauce and the best Mashed Potatoes ever!