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Sep 27, 2012 05:49 AM

Thanksgiving around the corner...lets talk turkey! and tarts! and more!!

Hey all!!

With the Cnd Thanksgiving around the corner, let's talk turkey and more!

What are you making, how are you making it and tips and directions on great turkeys, stuffing, baking methods, etc etc etc

Let's get some great bakers joining in with great recipes, pumpkin pies and more!

I know I need an infusion of new ideas,methods of baking, timing and more...

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  1. Probably a very traditional method this year.

    A while back I broke down an entire bird, confit'd the boneless legs and thighs and then used that as a centre for a turkey brick formed with a rectangular mold, the breast meat and transglutaminase. The brick was wrapped in the skin and then cooked sous-vide before being browned in butter. I can still hear the complaints.

    Anyway, I have an 18 lb organic bird on order. Herb butter under the skin, slow roasted unstuffed in a moist oven for 3-4-odd hours or so, rest for at least 2 hours tightly covered in moist oven.

    Probably a bread stuffing with mirepoix, mushrooms, sausage, apples, cranberry (haven't really decided).

    Not sure on sides, though the sweet potato thing with the marshmallow topping won't be on the list.

    6 Replies
    1. re: wattacetti

      Your confit's duck brick sounds great to me!
      Question...what do you mean by a "moist" oven? And doesn't resting the turkey in the oven dry/overcook it??
      Your stuffing sounds nice, do you use chicken stock and raw eggs to keep it together? recipe??

      I wonder what people's thoughts are on stuff turkeys verse unstuffed the stuffing better in the turkey??? Food for thought..

      1. re: heylids

        Question...what do you mean by a "moist" oven?
        i can't speak to wattacetti's method, but i set a pan filled with water in the bottom of the oven - as the water evaporates, the steam adds moisture to the cooking environment.

        1. re: heylids

          Sorry - I lost track of this thread.

          Moist oven is exactly what goodhealthgourmet states: pan of water on the bottom of the oven that's refilled whenever the bird gets pulled to be basted.

          I don't stuff in the turkey anymore because I find that dries out the bird a bit and there's generally competition for the stuff that's in the bird as opposed to under.

          Never thought of egg as a binder for stuffing. We've always liked stuffing fairly loose.

          The stuffing changes every time I make it but the basic technique is to first brown off the sausage meat before setting aside and using the oil supplemented with bacon fat and butter to sweat down mirepoix cut into brunoise. I use 3x as much onion as mixed-color carrot and celery, and it's generally about 5 pounds total starting material. Once the mirepoix is reduced and nicely colored the mushrooms go in to cook down. Then the other ingredients as they need shorter time. Liquid is 1 part chicken stock (made from just chicken; no aromatics), 1 part 2% milk, 1 part 35% cream. Bread is whatever wasn't finished off that had been cut into crouton and dried in the oven in anticipation of a batch of stuffing.

          1. re: heylids

            I never, ever stuff -- because it's a pain to stuff it, then you have to take it all out again (while it's steaming hot!) before service, it slows down the cooking of the bird, increases the chance of foodborne illness, and makes the bird much heavier.

            While I'll grant that the stuffing tastes better IN the bird, I do use homemade it's still pretty darned tasty, and I'm not frustrated, scalded, or out of patience.

            (actually, I bake my dressing in the crockpot -- frees up a lot of oven space that I don't have to give, and comes out with a lovely crust and stays nice and moist)

          2. re: wattacetti

            I love the direction you went with the legs. Sous vide is a terrible technique for lean muscles though. What was the texture of that end product like?

            1. re: Brandon Nelson

              Actually sous-vide is a great technique for lean muscle like breast. What went into the bag was chicken (capon) fat and butter and the skin also gave a little collagen injection. The breast was tender and very juice but not mushy.

          3. For years and years, I've made a turkey w/ a black pepper-pomegranate molasses glaze, served with a sage & smoked chipotle chili gravy. I submitted it to a contest where I didn't give up the rights to the recipe years ago, and then I found out a few years ago that Bobby Flay had stolen the recipe (verbatim, didn't even re-adjust the ingredient order) and put it in one of his books - the jerk. Blatant plagiarism. But I let it go and kept on with my thing.....then last year, right on the front page of Food Network's website in big print, "BOBBY'S Thanksgiving turkey w/ black pepper-pomegranate molasses glaze and....." Two of my guests attending our Thanksgiving for the first time pulled the "Oh, you made BOBBY FLAY'S recipe! That looked soooo good!" Grrr....the MONUMENTAL JERK.

            So this year I've been toying around with flavours to modify the bird in order to differentiate it from that moron taking all the credit for my work. Still haven't nailed down the details yet, but a brine will be involved, as well a change of the composition of the gravy away from chipotles into another kind of spice to counterbalance the tartness of the pomegranate molasses. I'm also trying to think of a way to adjust the glaze, but the pom/black pepper combination is so damn perfect I'm having a hard time coming up with a means to improve upon it.

            Tips? I can't help but stuff my birds. That said, when the bird is done, the bird is done - the stuffing then has to come out and oven bake on its own to completion. I also like to fire my birds at 2 temperatures. For the first little while, I like to have it in a fairly hot oven in order to ensure that crispy, beautiful skin, and then ramp down the temperature for the long ride to completion. I've found a MONUMENTAL difference in quality just by buying a high quality bird. Yes, the free bird from the grocery store is nice because it's free, but I've found that paying the premium for the Diestel Farms turkey that's been bred in order to have breasts TWICE the size of anything Butterball will give you and so amazingly juicy that you'll wonder how you ever lived with Norbest or BB is well worth the expense.

            We have a Sikh coming for Thanksgiving this year, so I'm trying to come up with a Thanksgiving-inspired take on a traditional Indian dish (probably a spicy red bean recipe with Turkey-day flair), but still haven't worked out those details yet.

            1. The bird will get "dry brined" with kosher the salt the day before Thanksgiving. The day of I will dry it off, oil it up, and high roast it untill the breast hits 162.

              Our menu is pretty traditional. My dad loses his mind when I try to mess with it.

              1. This is a favorite cake in my family:

                Instead of the apple topping, I usually make my own spicy glaze of confectioner's sugar, a drop of vanilla, apple juice for the main liquid (if I don't have apple juice, I use water), a little ginger, and a drop of cinnamon. The family almost always asks for this cake for birthdays. I have made it as a regular round cake, in loaf pans, bundt pans, and as mini-muffins, adjusting the baking time as necessary.

                And if your family is willing to go for a slightly less traditional sort of pumpkin pie, these pumpkin pie bars are pretty good, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side:


                A bonus with this is you don't have to worry about the top cracking in the same way as you might with a regular pumpkin pie.

                1. May be heresy, but last year I started the bird breast side down, then rotated at some point. Was supposed to keep the breast more moist, but didn't see any change and rotating a large, stuffed, hot bird was a PITA. Will stick with my old way this year.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pine time

                    I too tried the breast side down but didn't find a difference. I most likely will do the martha stewart cheesecloth method. I don't know if it really keeps the turkey more moist, but it sure makes it brown beautifully!

                    1. re: heylids

                      Me three.... temperature and careful attention makes more of an impact than breast up or down, IME.

                    2. re: pine time

                      I once rotated a chicken. The grease spattered and somehow caught fire, lighting my oven mitts and burning a huge hole in my sweatshirt! Fortunately I was able to get the mitts & the shirt under water in the sink & wasn't burned. As you might imagine, never again!

                      1. re: pine time

                        This is exactly why I've never attempted to flip a turkey mid roast. I do my push ups and lift (small) weights, but how the heck am I supposed to flip a hot turkey that weights 17 pounds or so?