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what to do with a kosher turkey?

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  • D-NY Nov 20, 2004 01:02 AM
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My mom's buying an organic kosher turkey for "health reasons." I don't think I should brine it, since it is already brined, but is there anything I should do? Should I do some low-salt brine? Should I rinse it out?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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  1. There is no reason to brine it. It has essentially already been done, in a different form. It will be too salty if you do.

    It couldn't hurt to rinse it out, pat it dry and do whatever you usually do before cooking it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joe MacBu

      Thanks. But I can't "do whatever you usually do before cooking it" since this is my first time making a turkey! Tips appeciated.

      1. re: D-NY

        Here's my plan this year for a 14lb turkey.

        I'm brining my non-kosher bird overnight. Rinse throughly and pat dry. Then I'll make a spice paste with cumin, coriander, cayenne, garlic, ginger, black pepper, paprika, turmeric, and allspice. This goes over and under the skin and also gets rubbed inside the cavity. Left in fridge overnight.

        On the day of cooking, I'm going to leave the bird out at room temperature for about 2 hours with ice packs on the breast meat. This is Harold McGee's suggestion for getting prefectly cooked white and dark meat. There should be a 20 degree difference between the breast and leg (40 vs 60 F). This will ensure that the breast meat isn't overcooked by the time the leg meat is cooked.

        The cavity gets a quartered onion, some garlic cloves, cinnamon, apple, sage, cloves, lemon and cardamom.

        Place breast side down onto a V-rack and pop into a 400F oven for 45 minutes. Turn it breast side up for the remaining ~1 hour. No basting recommended since the turkey is made moist by brining, and you want the skin crispy. It'll come out when the breast is 160F and the thigh is about 175-180. Let rest for 30 minutes during which time the pan will be deglazed and made into gravy with a stock made from the turkey giblet.

    2. Leave at least 45 minutes to prep the turkey removing tail feathers etc. Kosher processing is minimal by Jewish law, so there will be a lot of quills to remove. Use a pliers.
      It will taste great. Definitely do not brine!

      1. Brining, as others have said, is out. Rubbing the turkey with the herbs and spices of your choosing (sage, parsely, lemon peel, rosemary, and garlic powder come to mind) and/or putting some herb rub in the cavity and under the skin where you can loosen it at the neck and the cavity will also flavor the bird nicely. I have made an herb butter to do this, and the bird comes out beautifully moist, and the pan drippings all but ready for gravy, preseasoned as they are with the buttery herbs.

        1. Make a paste of garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and some olive or veg. oil. Rub generously all over the turkey - inside and out - and let stand for at least a couple of hours before roasting. Then roast - open, no cover, basting often - until it reaches the internal temperature that a turkey is supposed to have (don't remember it off the top of my head).

          Word of advice, from someone who has roasted umpteen gazillion turkeys: take the bird out as soon as you start wondering if it's "really" done. If you wait until you're absolutely positive - it will be overcooked and dry. Let it sit and reabsorb its juices for about 15 to 20 minutes before carving. It will gain a few degrees of temperature during that time too.

          Relax - it's not brain surgery. It only looks that way.

          1. You could try my method for keeping birds extra moist (if you like mushrooms).

            Make a mixture of one part softened butter, one part VERY finely diced mushrooms and one part aromatics (parsley, sage, rosemary, citrus zest, shallot, garlic etc.)

            Stuff the mixture between the skin and the meat and squish it around under there. The flavored butter drips through the bird through about the first 45 minutes or so of roasting. Then the mushrooms start to slowly ooze out their juice and continue to baste the meat for the next hour. This also really flavors the pan drippings nicely.

            To make your gravy, place all the pan drippings into a 4 cup seperator cup (a very handy thing to have around). Place some of the fat and an equal amount of flour into a saucier pan to make a roux. Cook that for 10 minutes or so until it has some color and then slowly add the non-fatty part of the pan drippings. Also be sure to deglaze the bottom of your roasting pan and add that good stuff to your gravy.

            It might be a good idea to make a couple cups of stock with your giblets along with some carrots, onions, celery and bay to have some "emergency" liquid on hand in case your bird doesn't yeild enough. I also really like the liver chopped up in the gravy.

            Good luck!