I like stuff.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005: The Revenge - Turkefaction, Phase 1

Alright, so I'm starting to feel a little cramped for time. Better get
moving on the hot turkey action.

First off, the plan is to treat raw poultry as poison, along with anything
that touches it. So I do as much prep work before the bird enters the

So that aside, let's talk about stuffing. I like it. I just don't like it in
the bird. But I do something with that gaping cavity:

If the mood lighting is too rough, that'd be an apple, a lemon, an onion,
and garlic.

For preparation, I like to cut the apple and the lemon in about 8 equal
sized chunks, and quarter the onion. I peel all the garlic, reserving a few
of the irregular pieces:

The rest of the garlic goes in the roasting pan. I like to make a little
design, but ultimately, I put the bird right on top of this, so a little bit
of uniformity is nice.

Everything else gets dumped in a bowl with a few tablespoons of water and
microwaved for a minute and a half. Sure, this does make them a little more
uncomfortable to deal with, but even though I never plan on eating this
stuff, I don't want them to be microbe sponges either.

As for the rest, I like to get about a tablespoon or so of softened butter
ready, about 4 sprigs of rosemary, and chop the remaining garlic.

Now for the bird. Once I pull it from the brine, I give it a quick rinse and
inspect it to make sure I got rid of any allspice or peppercorns that got
stuck in it. Into the roasting pan, squarely on top of the garlic. I
typically fold the wings underneath.

In about equal proportions, put as many apple, lemon and onion chunks inside
as will loosely fit. Don't pack it in.

Start working the skin over the breasts and break the membranes holding it
to the meat. Once you can get in there, stash a sprig of rosemary, some
butter and some chopped garlic in both sides. Remember, the skin is
watertight, so anything that can be put in underneath it is going to
actually add some flavor.

Wash hands. Set oven to 500 degrees. In that order.

So the downside of putting things under the skin is it makes a slightly less
aesthetic turkey:

That's alright by me.

Last step before it goes in is to make some heat shielding for it. This
isn't going to go on just yet, but it's a lot easier to form it when the
bird is still cold. The idea is to get the white meat covered, as it's going
to be done before the dark meat.

Don't bother with the thermometer yet.

Once the oven is up to 500, turn down the heat to 350 and throw the pan in.
Let it roast for about 20-30 minutes. This is about browning, and it's a lot
easier to get it done now than later when you're at the edge of doneness.

When the timer goes off, it's time to move to phase 2.

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