Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The 20lb Bird - An Amazing Roasted Turkey, Part 1

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the Christmas holidays are now in full swing.  So, you might still need to cook an amazing turkey for the holidays.  Well, we've got you covered.  This year I created a new recipe for our Thanksgiving bird.  It weighed 20lbs and I wanted to make sure that it did not become dry and tough, so that required a new recipe.  I have brined turkeys many times, I have basted turkeys, I have stuffed turkeys with aromatics and I have made compound butter for turkeys in the past.  So, I wanted to do something different this year.  Therefore, I did all four.

Now, because I do not always plan ahead when it comes to photographs, I do not have photos of everything.  However, I do have step by step instructions that you can follow, and they are very easy.  I am basing all of my measurements on the average 12lb - 14lb pound turkey. You can easily adjust  up or down, depending on the size of your bird.

Step One - the clarified butter spread

Do not be intimidated by the name, clarified butter is super easy to make.  However, if you do not want to make it, you can probably find Indian Ghee at your local grocery store in the butter section and it works just as well and you can skip the clarifying steps below.  Also, if you want to use butter and not clarify it, you can do that as well, just skip the clarifying steps below.

2 sticks (8 oz.) butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons salt  - a quality sea salt is great
1 tablespoon pepper (ground) - Tellicherry Peppercorns are awesome

1. Place 8 ounces of unsalted butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  As the butter melts, it will start to separate.  Monitor it closely, we do not want it to burn or darken too fast.  If it is, lower the heat.  Once the butter is fully melted, skim away the white foam on the surface.  This is the milk solids.  Save them, we will use them later.  The clear, yellowy liquid is the fat we want to use.  Do not worry if you are not able to get 100% of the white solids, it is fine.  Now, gently pour the skimmed yellowy liquid into another sauce pan.  You will notice that there are some solids in the bottom of your sauce pan, try and not pour them into your new pan.  Once this is done, add your milk solids back to the original pan and place it over low - medium heat and let it slowly darken.  Once it is a nice brown color, turn of the heat and place the liquid in a container to cool, before putting it in the refrigerator.

2. The yellowy, skimmed liquid we placed in the other pan, is the butterfat, minus the milk solids.  This is what we are going to flavor. Place the pan over low-medium heat and add the following; garlic, garam masala, ginger, green onion, salt and pepper.  Allow the mixture to heat for 10 minutes and then remove it from the heat. Pour it into a container and allow it to cool before placing it in the refrigerator.  

This butter can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until it is needed.

Up next, Part 2 - how to make the brine and how to brine the turkey....


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