Sunday, November 22, 2009

Step #4- Cider-Brined Herb-Butter Turkey with Cider-Shallot Pan Gravy

Added on Nov 2012:
Here are my quick links for Thanksgiving turkey:
This turkey was the absolute best, and it will be hard to top this recipe for next Thanksgiving. I had so much to say about both the turkey and gravy, so I divvied up my comments below:

Turkey
"OMG, this cuts like butter". That is a true testament to an excellent cooked turkey. I have made turkeys previously, but this one turned out better than I've ever done. I have to believe it was due to the brining process, and wonderful recipe (thank you, Williams-Sonoma).
The breast was incredibly moist. Upon his first bite, he exclaimed "HOLY COW, that is GOOD". The breast was so moist, tender, succulent- every wonderful adjective you want your turkey to taste like. I am a true believer of brining, and can't think of making another turkey without this step.


Gravy

My DB said it was "the best gravy he's ever had". And to be honest, I had to concur... It WAS the best gravy I've ever had. I was so pleased with the results. The pureed shallots lended a huge flavor boost, and it helped to thicken the gravy as well. This gravy brought me to my knees- you must try it!

Tip: I purchased a gravy separator- what a huge help! You just pour the gravy through the top strainer (make sure the stopper is in)- the fat rises to the top while the lean gravy juices settle to the bottom. Remove the stopper, and pour out the lean gravy juices through the spout until only the fat remains in the cup. It worked like a charm, and was mess-free.

 
For my complete Thanksgiving Turkey schedule, click here.

Herb Butter
This herb butter is infused with fresh rosemary, sage, parsley, and thyme. It is delicious, and gives your turkey wonderful flavor, which then also gives your homemade gravy (recipe below) delicious flavoring as well.
Ingredients:
  • 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 9 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (5 Tbsp rosemary, thyme, sage and 4 Tbsp parsley)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Directions:
  1. In a bowl (I used my KitchenAid mixer with a beater blade), beat together the butter, herbs, salt, and pepper until well blended.
  2. Divide the herbed butter into thirds- set aside 1/3 (6 Tbsp) for the gravy. The remaining 2/3 of the butter (10 Tbsp) will be used for the turkey. Refrigerate if not using right away. (Bring butter to room temperature before using.)
Make ahead tip: The herb butter can be made 2-3 days in advance. Keep refrigerated until ready for use.

Cider-Brined Herb-Butter Turkey

Ingredients:
  • Aromatics
    • 1 red apple, sliced
    • 1/2 onion, sliced
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 cup water
    • 4 sprigs rosemary
    • 6 leaves sage
  • 1 turkey, up to 20-lbs, brined (these instructions are for a 20# turkey)
  • 6 Tbsp herb butter (recipe above)
  • 1 lb shallots, peeled, halved length-wise through root end
  • 1 cup apple cider (for basting)
Directions:
  1. Let turkey stand at room temperature- An hour before roasting, remove the turkey from the fridge and let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour (still in the brined liquid). If you've refrigerated the herb butter, remove from fridge and let it come to room temperature as well. (If your turkey is large, like ours, I remove the top shelf of the oven so there is enough room for the turkey.)
  2. Prep turkey for cooking
    1. Make the aromatics: Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
    2. When you’re ready to roast, discard the brining liquid, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    3. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. (Under-washing could lead to a very salty gravy, so don't skip this step.)
    4. Place turkey on roasting rack.
    5. Loosening the skin on top of the breast meat, spread 1/3 (6 Tbsp) of the herbed butter on both turkey breasts. Spread the other 1/3 of the herbed butter mixture evenly on the skin/outside of the turkey.

6. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage.

7. Scatter the peeled and sliced shallots in pan around turkey.

8. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine, and place the probe thermometer. (Here is a video which will tell you where to place your meat thermometer for an accurate reading.)

9. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. (I place the turkey into the oven legs-in first.)

10. Remove the turkey from the oven, loosely tent the turkey with foil, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices and apple cider.

11. After about 3 hours of roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. Pull out the turkey when the breast registers at 161°F and the thigh at 175°F.

12. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. (The residual heat will redistribute the juices in the turkey AND continue to cook the turkey an additional 5-10 degrees.)

 VOILA!

Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma; Aromatics recipe: Alton Brown

Cider-Shallot Pan Gravy

Ingredients:
  • Pan-roasted shallots (from the turkey recipe, above)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth, divided (we use no-salt chicken stock from Costco)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Herb butter (from recipe above), approximately 6 Tbsp
Directions:

1. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots from roasting pan to a plate. Puree the shallots in a food processor or blender, leaving the juices in the roasting pan.

2. Pour pan juices into a medium bowl; spoon off fat and discard…. or use a gravy separator which will do that for you!

3. In the now-empty roasting pan, add wine and 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth. Set the roasting pan directly over 2 burners and bring broth mixture to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Continue to boil until reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes; pour into a large glass measuring cup.

4. Add degreased pan juices into a large 4-cup measuring cup (do not add the fat from the turkey drippings). Add enough broth (if necessary) to equal 3 cups liquid.

5. In a medium bowl, blend flour in with the herb butter.

6. Pour broth mixture back into the roasting pan and bring to boil.

7. Gradually whisk in herb butter mixture.

8. Add any accumulated juices from turkey platter. Boil until gravy thickens enough to coat spoon lightly, whisking occasionally, about 6 minutes.

9. Add pureed shallots to gravy; simmer 1 minute.

10. Season gravy with salt and pepper.

11. Serve turkey with gravy.

Gravy recipe- Adapted from Epicurious

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