Roasting a Turkey in a Dutch oven?
Has anyone ever tried roasting a Turkey in a deep roaster or Dutch oven (like Le Creuset's "Goose Pot")? I'm wondering if it works, it it'll just me more moist, will it still get a mice brown skin...? I don't have a roasting pan, but I do have that aforementioned 15½ oval oven.
I don't think you would be pleased with the results. You know how they always caution not to put pieces of meat crowded too closely together while you're browning them to prevent them from steaming? That's what would happen to your turkey from the high sides of the Dutch oven. The heat would throw the moisture back at the turkey and it would steam, becoming soggy and stringy rather than moist and juicy. It would get darker but not the appealing golden brown that we associate with a nice Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving presentation piece.
You have a couple of choices. You could buy an inexpensive roaster like the one Macy's is offering for $5 this weekend. Not a bad thing to have on hand for occasional use. Or a disposable aluminum one at the grocery for $2 to $3.if you remember to put a support under it because they're kind of flimsy.
Turkey also braises well. You could cut the turkey into pieces and do a very nice braise. Perhaps adapt an interesting recipe from Marcella Hazan for an interesting change from the same-old, same-old at Turkey Time.
Turkey is wonderful with sage so you could honor the spirit of the holiday, use the pot you have and enjoy a great meal.
Turkey Basting Sauce
(1) 15 lb. fresh turkey 1/2 cup butter; melted
1 onion quartered 1 tsp. dried mint leaves
1 bay leaf 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cloves garlic; sliced 1/2 tsp. dried sage
6 cloves garlic; pressed 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 cup water 1/2 tsp. sweet basil
1 tsp. celery salt
Mashed Potatoes 1 tsp. salt
7 medium potatoes; peeled & sliced 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter Gravy
1/4 cup milk 2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
drippings from Dutch oven
Rinse turkey, making sure it is thawed completely. Pat dry. Twist wings in behind. Place quartered onion, bay leaf, and sliced garlic in the cavity of the turkey. Rub pressed garlic all over the outside skin of the turkey. Place the turkey into a 15" deep Dutch oven. Pour 1 cup of warm water into the bottom of the Dutch oven. Cover and cook using 15-18 briquettes bottom and 24-28 briquettes top.
Prepare basting sauce in a small dish by adding melted butter and herbs. Stir until well blended. Brush turkey with basting sauce often as turkey cooks. Replace coals every 50-60 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat reaches 170° F.
Arrange potatoes in bottom of Dutch oven around the turkey about one hour before meat is to be done. When potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and mash them with butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
When turkey is done remove it from the Dutch oven. Increase briquettes on bottom of Dutch oven to 28. Add cornstarch to 1/2 cup water and stir until dissolved. Whisk cornstarch mixture into drippings in Dutch oven. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Season gravy with salt and pepper.
Sure, it'll work. But the cooking time would be a guess, since there will be an air barrier between the bird and the heat. Dutch ovens are designed for direct contact between the food and the pan.
But a very decent shallow baking pan is available at a low price from a restaurant supply store. If there's not enough time, you might find a shallow aluminum foil pan at the market (though to be safe from leaks I'd use two.)
And yes, you get browner skin with a hallow pan.
Of course you can roast a Turkey in a Dutch Oven. As to the email responses. The turkey will not become soggy, and it will not steam. You need to pull the top off the dutch oven at some point during the cooking. I have cooked a large bird this way, and it worked out fine. You need to experiment a few times to find out the cooking times, and the time to roast with the cover of the dutch oven off. I have cooked many types of poultry in a dutch oven. Everything has turned out great. You need to turn down the heat a bit. I depends on the size, and thickness of the Dutch oven. Experiment.
I do this every Thanksgiving- in the Goose pot. It's the best turkey ever, and there are NO leftovers. We brown that bad boy in a big paella pan with oil, to get a little of the crunchy skin, stuff with fresh sage, thyme parsley,lemons, shallots, put it in the pot and pour in turkey stock I make the day before from necks, wings and legs (1/2 is used for the turkey gravy), white wine and more shallots and lemons. I cooked a 20lb bird at 350 in 1.5 hours- lid on- and if you keep the lid on after you take it out, that Turkey will be hot and succulent for hours. In fact one year there was a guest snafu and they were ALL 1.5 hours late. No worries, my turkey was hot and perfect, happily waiting in it's pot. It also allows me to use the oven for multiple dishes, as it cooks quickly and stays hot. Highly recommend.
Retain the stock and strain- IF you have any turkey left over, you're well on your way to the best turkey soup ever.