Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Tips

Just wanted to send out a few Thanksgiving meal tips that I have been learning in RS cooking class. I've used the turkey brine for several years now and get LOTS of positive comments on my turkey. :)

Buttermilk Brine for Your Turkey

Overnight brine (12 to 14 hours) uses 1/2 cup of table salt per gallon of cold water. For a quick brine (4 to 6 hours) use 1 cup of table salt per gallon of cold water. For most birds, you will need 2 gallons of cold water. For a buttermilk brine, add a quart of buttermilk to 2 gallons of brine. If your turkey does not fit in the fridge, you should keep it in a big cooler with ice packs to keep it cold. Don't let the turkey brine beyond the recommended time or it will be overly salty. When the turkey is ready to come out of the brine, be sure to rinse away the salty water and then pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

I like to roast my turkey with a simple herb butter under the skin. "Herbes de Provence" is a great (and easy) way to get all the herbs you'll want in one quick bottle. Just mix 1 tablespoon of the herbs with 1 stick of softened butter, then rub it under the skin before roasting. No need to marinate, as this does nothing to help keep your bird moist and slows down the proper cooking time.

For a lump-free gravy:
Equal parts flour and butter, mix together over medium heat (this is called a roux). After well combined (if you smell it, you may be able to smell a sugar cookie like smell - takes maybe a minute of constant stirring), add your broth (from whatever meat you may have cooked) until you have the consistency that you like. Add water or store-bought broth if you run out of homemade. About 1/2 cup of roux for 3 cups of liquid (my preference). Put in a little broth at a time and let it thicken before adding more, until you reach the desired consistency. Use a whisk to mix it in so that no lumps form. If your gravy doesn't have the brown color that you want, you can use a browning sauce (available at most local grocery stores) to add color. You don't need a lot, just poor in a little a time until you get the color you want. This should not effect your flavor.


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