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December 23, 2013 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: HRL , MLFNF , TSN

Turkey two ways

Classic roasted bird versus Asian-spiced version

By Alison Ladman, The Associated Press December 18, 2013

Photograph by: Matthew Mead, The Associated Press Files , The Associated Press

For creative cooks, producing a perfect turkey dinner is a delicate balance between sticking with tradition and trying new flavours and techniques.

Photograph by: Matthew Mead, The Associated Press Files , The Associated Press

Asian-inspired modern turkey and gravy. Ginger, sesame oil and chives offer a different take to the usual sage, citrus, rosemary and thyme flavours.  

The holiday dinner can be a landmine of a meal. Creative cooks who tinker too aggressively with classic recipes may find themselves at the head of a table of disgruntled diners.

It's hard to blame them. Christmas is rooted strongly in traditions. Now you go and add a layer of complexity - every family has a special way of roasting this, mashing that, baking those or stuffing these. Tinker too much and you risk divorcing the meal from some of its meaning. Yet cooks love to try new flavours, new techniques, new ingredients, none of which is easy to balance.

So to help you navigate, we've created duelling turkey recipes. Each is grounded in a classic roasting technique. But while one stays true to tradition, seasoning the big bird with sage, citrus, rosemary and thyme, the other reaches for ginger, sesame oil and chives to tease different, but delicious flavours.

Which way will you go?

Traditional Turkey and Gravy

Start to finish: 2½ to 3 hours

Makes a 12-to 14-lb. (5.4 to 6.4-kg) turkey with gravy

Ingredients 12-to 14-lb. (5.4 to 6.4-kg) turkey

For the compound butter: ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened

1 tbsp. (15 mL) salt

1 tsp. (5 mL) ground black pepper ¼ cup (60 mL) minced fresh sage

For the filling:

1 orange, cut into 8 wedges

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

6 sprigs fresh thyme

3 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges

4 medium carrots, cut into large pieces

4 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces

For the gravy:

¼ cup (60 mL) white wine

2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium chicken or turkey broth

3 tbsp. (45 mL) all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. (45 mL) finely chopped fresh sage

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Remove and discard the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity, if present. Use paper towels to pat dry the turkey.

To prepare the compound butter, in a small bowl mix together the butter, salt, pepper and sage. Rub the compound butter all over the turkey, making sure to get some under the skin.

In a roasting pan large enough to fit the turkey, combine the orange, lemon, rosemary, thyme, onions, carrots and celery. Mix well. Stuffsome of the mixture into the cavity of the turkey, then arrange the rest in an even layer in the pan. Place the turkey on the mixture in the pan.

Roast for 2 to 2½ hours. The temperature of the breast should reach 160 F (70 C) and the thigh should reach 170 F (77 C). If the turkey begins to darken too much, cover with foil.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, wrap with a layer of foil and then place several kitchen towels over it to keep it warm.

Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the herbs and vegetables from the roasting pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and bring the juices to a simmer. Add the white wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Pour 1 cup (250 mL) of the broth into the pan, whisking continuously In a small bowl combine the flour with the remaining broth and whisk until smooth. Add to the pan and whisk continuously while simmering for 5 minutes. Strain the gravy, then season with sage, salt and black pepper. Serve alongside the turkey.

Asian Modern Turkey and Gravy

Start to finish: 2½ to 3 hours Makes a 12-to 14-lb. (5.4 to 6.4-kg) turkey with gravy Ingredients 12-to 14-lb. (5.4 to 6.4-kg) turkey

For the compound butter: ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened 1 tbsp. (15 mL) salt 1 tsp. (5 mL) ground black pepper Zest of 2 lemons ¼ cup (60 mL) minced fresh chives 3 tbsp. (45 mL) grated fresh ginger 2 tbsp. (30 mL) toasted sesame oil For the filling: 3 lemons, each cut into 8 wedges 4 Thai chilies, halved 2 cups (500 mL) shallots, halved 2 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges For the gravy: ½ cup (125 mL) sake 2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium chicken or turkey broth 4½ tbsp. (67.5 mL) rice flour 1 tbsp. (15 mL) toasted sesame oil 3 tbsp. (45 mL) finely chopped fresh cilantro Soy sauce, to taste Directions

Heat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Remove and discard the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity, if present. Use paper towels to pat dry the turkey.

To prepare the compound butter, in a small bowl mix together the butter, salt, pepper lemon zest, chives, ginger and sesame oil. Rub the compound butter all over the turkey, making sure to get some under the skin.

In a roasting pan large enough to fit the turkey, combine the lemons, chilies, shallots and onions. Mix well. Stuffsome of the mixture into the cavity of the turkey, then arrange the rest in an even layer in the pan. Place the turkey on the mixture in the pan.

Roast for 2 to 2½ hours. The temperature of the breast should reach 160 F (70 C) and the thigh should reach 170 F (77 C). If the turkey begins to darken too much, cover with foil.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, wrap with a layer of foil and then place several kitchen towels over it to keep it warm.

Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the chilies and vegetables from the roasting pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and bring the juices to a simmer. Add the sake and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Pour 1 cup (250 mL) of the broth into the pan, whisking continuously

In a small bowl combine the rice flour with the remaining broth and whisk until smooth, then add to the pan and whisk continuously while simmering for 5 minutes. Strain the gravy, then season with sesame oil, cilantro and soy sauce. Serve alongside the turkey.

 © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

 

How to brine the perfect Christmas turkey

December 20, 2010. 8:59 pm • Section: The Green Man

A well-executed brine takes the guesswork out of cooking a Christmas turkey, according to chef Patrick Dore.

“Brining is one of the only ways to guarantee even seasoning on a large cut of meat like a turkey,” said the executive chef in the dining room of the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.

The technique of immersing a turkey in a solution of water, salt, sugar, honey and herbs helps the bird retain moisture during the cooking process, allows the cook to introduce flavours and flavour enhancers and it even helps the bird cook more evenly.

If you have ever struggled to get a turkey cooked right through without drying out the breasts and drumsticks, Dore’s method may be the answer to your prayers.

Brining is ancient technique with functionality well beyond flavour. Kosher turkeys are rubbed with salt inside and out to preserve and to remove impurities and blood, essentially a dry brine. If you are roasting a fresh turkey a wet brine is an easier way to control the amount of seasoning that you put into a bird, Dore said. Either way, salt helps create an environment that is hostile to bacteria.

During the brining process the liquid containing salt, sugar and other flavours will change places with the moisture in the bird, drawing even seasoning through even the biggest cut of meat.

 

More on this in Wednesday’s Sun.

Chef Patrick Dore’s turkey brine

2 gallons water
1 ½ cups Kosher Salt
2 cups Brown Sugar
1 cup Honey
2 Heads of Garlic cut in half
2 Lemons cut in Half
1 tbl peppercorns
6 bay leaves
Large bundle of fresh sage, thyme and rosemary

Method: Put all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Allow to cool completely and submerge the turkey overnight. Heat the oven to 325F. Remove from brine and towel the turkey dry. Brush with melted butter and roast until juice in the leg run clear when tested with a fork or preferably to an internal temperature of 180F.

 

Helpful hints

DO ensure that your brine is cold before the turkey goes in.

DO use a fresh turkey, not a kosher or or Butterball turkey, which are already seasoned.

DO let your turkey spend one hour warming to room temperature before roasting.

DO pat your turkey dry inside and out before placing it in the oven. Roasting is a dry process, you want to avoid moisture that will turn to steam

DO NOT rinse the brine off your bird. The salt and sugar will help the skin brown.

DO NOT cook dressing inside the turkey. Not only does it tend to create unwanted steam, it is difficult to heat to a safe temperature inside the bird.

 

Nathan Fong's delicious idea

Chef Nathan adds a Chinese touch to dressing. October 7, 2008 

Nathan Fong's Family Turkey Stuffing

 
Makes enough for a 12 to 16 pound bird

 
1/2 loaf day old white bread

1 box Mrs. Cubbison's Plain Stuffing

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

6 strips lean bacon, cut into 1/4-inch julienne

1 large onion, finely chopped

4-5 stalks celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped water chestnuts

8-10  Dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in warm water to re-hydrate, coarsely chopped

4 Chinese sausages, steamed for 20 minutes to re-hydrate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Chinese BBQ pork

2 Tbsp light soy sauce

2 Tbsp dark soy sauce

2 Tbsp oyster sauce

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp Chinese five spice

 2 to 3 cups warm turkey or chicken broth

 Place a few slices of bread into a food processor and pulse until large coarse crumbs. Mix together with the Mrs. Cubbison's stuffing in a large mixing bowl.

In a large wok or skillet add the vegetable oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until semi crisp. Add the onion and celery and saute until translucent. Add the water chestnuts, mushrooms, Chinese sausage, BBQ pork and mix well. Stir in soy and oyster sauces and spices. Add hot mixture to the bread stuffing mixture and mix well. Add enough broth to moisten stuffing mixture to desired consistency. I prefer a moist stuffing than a drier texture. Allow stuffing to cool before stuffing turkey. Any leftover or excess stuffing can be placed into a casserole to heat separately. It can also be frozen.

© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc. 

 

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 23, 2013 at 1:43 AM, awallejr (77.67) wrote:

Well you are talking to a guy who microwaves, but my cousins sure can cook a great turkey (siblings on opposite coast of me ;/).

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#2) On December 23, 2013 at 2:21 AM, valunvesthere (< 20) wrote:

comment #1

Me too, My brother in law is a good cook and has invited me over for many holiday ocassion dinners. Regularly on my own it is pre-cooked or reheat menus.

I wonder where America would be without kraft dinner, instant noodles with soup base, and Campbell's soup (canned soup)?

Anyways, if my brother in law didn't invite me for dinner this Wdnesday December 25, I will be lining up at the local supermarket deli ordering 250 grams of each turkey and black forest ham cold cuts and 100 grams of hot gravy than to the bakery for fresh baked slice bread than to the produce section for green leaf lettuce and tradiro tomatoes than finally to the beverage isle for cranberry juice.

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