|Updated Picture (11/20/2012)|
It was really wonderful having everyone come over and celebrate our early Thanksgiving potluck dinner, and seeing everyone together under one roof. Most of us have moved back home, or work too much that we rarely see each other. The last time I think we were all together was our wedding. My good friend/bridesmaid, Yvette, had flown down from San Francisco to be with us. Jeremy, another good friend, had been evacuated from his place in Santa Barbara from the crazy fires and was in town to celebrate our potluck and it was also his birthday that same night! My youngest sister, Sasha, and her twins came up to celebrate as well. Everyone brought good food, and we had a great range of desserts...and the wine kept pouring!I had the lovely task of cooking the turkey. This was my 3rd year making it, and about my 4th time making the turkey. This time I went bigger, and bought a 22 pound turkey instead of my usual 16 pound turkey. I love brining a turkey, it gives so much flavor and it's so juicy. The turkey is never dry!
It took a little longer than I thought...also in part because we had just finished our kitchen project minutes before everyone showed up - so I started cooking late. Here's my turkey recipe, and some updated kitchen pics! I had to increase the ingredients a bit, but I highly recommend this recipe, and sticking exactly to the recipe. The bigger the turkey, it is harder to cook - 16 pound turkey is the perfect amount...I just went crazy going with the big bird!
Adapted from Alton Brown
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon whole allspice
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon iced water
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
1. Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. *Sidenote, please do this at least 3 to 4 hours before you brine the turkey.*
2. Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket. *I use the orange Homer bucket from Home Depot* Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, halfway through brining.*Be careful when you flip the bird, you might splash the brine everywhere.*
3. A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. *YES, please do this at 500 degrees!!* Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
4. Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
5. Place bird on roasting rack inside roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola oil. *I used a brush to coat the canola oil, and inside the turkey skin as well.*
6. Prepare the turkey cape, prepare a huge piece of aluminum foil and cover the top part as a triangle, it will resemble a turkey cape. Mold it to fit, and set this aside.
7. Roast the lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. *It gives the beautiful glowing roasted color for the turkey.* Remove from the oven and cover breast with the turkey aluminum cape, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set meat thermometer alarm (if available, and I highly recommend you get this one I love this one because it talks to me and lets me know how much longer I have let until my set temp.* A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
8. Take the turkey out at 160, and it will continue to cook to 170 when you let it rest loosely covered for about 15 minutes before carving.
(We were fighting in front of everyone on which fork to hold the turkey down, Eric is laughing at me, and I'm trying to tell him to listen to me, Monica is in the background trying not to get in the middle of us arguing).
Afterthoughts: Alton Brown has the video on how to brine the turkey on foodnetwork.com, and explains the science of this all. It's the best turkey I have ever had, and I also make the gravy that he suggests as well. This turkey recipe was the turning point of my cooking skills, after cooking a turkey for the first potluck back in Nov. 2005, I realized that I could make anything. Alton Brown was the source of my inspiration, and I'm a better cook because of him!
Super cute couple, Liz & Mikey...they always ham it up for the camera!
Poor Marlon, he had a 2 hour detour from his house. The freeways were closed due to the wild fires we had surrounding our areas...but he still showed up with his appetite. He walked in, got his plate and was ready to eat...until he realized that the turkey was still cooking.
It was pretty funny, he thought everyone was waiting on him to eat! He had the task of bringing the utensils and his tasty quatro leches cake! Also, Liz was dying to eat some turkey. She was ready to eat my bird with the thongs!
Thanks again for everyone for celebrating our 3rd Annual turkey Potluck, it's always worth it for the fun, laughter, and good eats!
My contribution: November Tasty Tools