Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's a bird

So, you are going to make the turkey this year. Apprehensive that it might come out dry? There are a few things you can to do to ensure a moist, flavorful bird.

I am a firm believer in smaller is better. While that 30-pound gargantuan looks impressive dominating the table its meat is sinewy and tough to me. I am more apt to have two smaller creatures positioned as sentinels ensuring that I have cooked a turkey that is more within its natural size. If possible buy a fresh bird, but it you must use a frozen one, make sure you defrost it slowly in the refrigerator over a 24 to 48 hour period.

In order to protect the breast meat of the bird from over-cooking while dark meat finishes cooking I like to blanket the breast with strips of bacon. Lay down some fresh sage or thyme leaves on the breast and fresh pepper, and then cover that with the bacon. The saltiness of the bacon should preclude your need to salt it. Shove two lemons cut in half and a head of garlic broken-up into the cavity of the turkey.

Then place the turkey in a roasting pan that is about 3 to 4 inches high. Pre-heat the oven to 450-degrees. Cook the turkey for the first 30 minutes at 450 and then lower the temperature to 350-dgrees. Baste the bird every 30 to 45 minutes. Figure your cooking time based upon the formula of 12 minutes for every pound. An instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick (not touching the bone) should read 175 to 180- degrees. Remove from the oven, and let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.

I like to take the drippings along with some white wine and simmer it for 15 minutes, and serve a jus (un-thickened sauce).

Good luck and enjoy.

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