Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to Bake a Turkey

Recently I had a hankering for a turkey dinner.  I just needed mashed potatoes, gravy, and turkey.  And as I type this I could get hungry for the meal all over again!

Baking a turkey is not a big deal for me.  Many of my friends think it is too much work.  Take a peek at how I bake a turkey. 

A frozen turkey needs to thaw before baking.  From my freezer I brought the turkey to the refrigerator, placing the frozen bundle in a cake pan.

And there you let it sit until it is squishy (thawed), which takes many days!

THE NIGHT BEFORE BAKING DAY...I brine the turkey.

Chef Kidlet Two taught me that brining makes a turkey extremely moist.  I'll get back to brining in a minute, but let me introduce you to my chef son.  He has always enjoyed helping me in the kitchen.  In high school he had a home-ec-type-class where he fell in love with cooking.  And that is where he learned how to brine a turkey.  In culinary school they taught brining so I now brine my turkey before baking.  The Chef lives in a Big Big City north of us and works in busy restaurant.  As I'm typing this, he is home for a few days and made a stock pot full of potato chicken chowder that is out of this world....

After cleaning the turkey (inside and out), fill a large pot with cold water.
The pot has to be big enough to hold the turkey and allow it to be completely submerged.
To the water add 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of sugar.
I also added fresh rosemary and dried thyme.
Stir the water to dissolve the sugar and salt.
 Put the turkey in the pot and add water so it is completely covered.
The whole pot goes into the refrigerator for an Over-Night-Stay.

On baking day, remove the turkey and drain well.

In my Never-Fail-Betty-Crocker-Cookbook I found a
recipe for Roasting Turkey in Aluminum Foil.
This method shortens roasting time and is
really steam roasting the turkey.
Which makes for the moistest turkey ever...seriously.

 Place the turkey on aluminum foil.   Rub olive oil all over the skin. 
I also sprinkled more rosemary and seasoned with salt and pepper.

 Wrap snugly and seal tightly with a lot of aluminum foil.
Place the foil-wrapped turkey, breast side up, in a baking pan.
 Place in a 450 degree oven and roast within 15 to 20 minutes
of the total roasting time.  Remove from oven and fold
the foil away from the bird. 
Return to oven and continue roasting until done.

10 to 12 pound bird needs to bake 2 3/4 to 3 hours
14 to 16 pound bird needs to bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours

Check out Betty Crocker for further baking times.

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the baked bird.
I guess we cut it up and started eating too fast....

Mashed pototes, corn and a delicious gravy from the pan drippings.

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