Saturday, November 24, 2007

The perfect turkey

I've found the perfect turkey recipe. My sister gave me this recipe last year when she and her family spent Christmas at my place. This Thanksgiving I had to get coaching from her. To cook the bird whole stuffed or unstuffed takes hours and hours and no matter what you do, the meat is dry because of the many hours of roasting. The trick is to split the bird and have it lie flat (spread eagle) while roasting. The roasting time is cut to more than half.
Last year, I watched my sister, this left handed, diminutive woman, hacking into a 12 lb turkey in my kitchen. This year, I had to repeat what she did, with the greatest trepidation. A week before, I made sure my kitchen scissors and my cleaver were both sharp, so I went to the knife sharpener guy. He always does a great job, so $9 later, I am ready.
The night before, I hacked into the bird with my cleaver and assisted by my kitchen scissors, removed the backbone (not the chest bone), I had to cut the wishbone in the neck as well so the 11+ lb bird could lie flat on the roasting pan. Then I soaked it overnight in a salt water bath.
Just before putting it into the oven, I placed a whole bunch of chopped garlic and rosemary under the skin of the turkey. It was then roasted at 350 f for 2 hours (only). It came out perfectly seasoned, fragrant and incredibly moist.
I, usually dread turkey leftovers. I have very little leftovers, either my guests were extremely hungry or I cooked too little food, maybe it is a combination of both.
I'm expecting a bigger crowd this Christmas. I'm working on the menu right now.

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