Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winner, Winner, Turkey Dinner!

Well, Thanksgiving has past and I'm thankful that I didn't gain 10 pounds the day after! Just a quick report on the fried turkeys. We ended up frying two 12 lb turkeys, one was an organic turkey from Costco and the other, my usual and dependable Butterball. Both cost around the same price, I think.

The turkey in the back is the organic with a Cajun rub. The front is the Butterball with a salt, ground pepper, paprika and Thyme rub.

I forgot to take a picture of the Butterball because by the second fry, we were all starving and and I was working hard to get everything else on the table. But here's the organic and the Butterball looked similar.

Results: both were fried for the exact recommended amount of time (as per instructions) but the Butterball was by far the better turkey. The organic turkey's breast was dry and the drumsticks were just so-so, and the rub didn't penetrate the meat as much. The Butterball was moist and tender with great flavor, just like what I've read a fried turkey should taste like. Lesson learned. Now I know why I stick to Butterballs every year. Thank goodness we got the Butterball or else we would have been sorely dissapointed with frying.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


mothermayi said...

wish i coulda tried the cajun rub....i'll have to rub next time..i just used evoo and butter...brined it

did u make your own gravy? the gravy we try to make doens't taste very good every year, and i'm trying to figure out what other ppl are doing

Barefoot Plumies said...

Hi Sawyer! I decided to go with a rub instead of injection because I couldn't find my injector. But I like the rub. I have used just EVOO and butter before and I really like the way the turkey browns.

I made gravy using the leftover giblets since I didn't have pan drippings. I made it the day before, and might do it this way from now on so it's not last minute (you'll see what I mean). Here's what I did and it turned out pretty good. (Slightly modified from Cook's Illustrated recipe.)

Reserved turkey giblets , neck
1 medium carrot, cut into 1" pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium onion (or 2 small), roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic , unpeeled
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium canned)
2 cups dry white wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
3 cups water
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Table salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

I put the vegetables and giblets into a roasting pan, drizzle with EVOO, then toss to coat everything. I set the giblets on top of the vegetables, then roast for 50 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes.

Remove the roasting pan and put on burner on high heat (make sure the roasting pan can be used on a burner). Add the chicken stock and bring to boil. Scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pan with wooden spoon.

Transfer everything into a large sauce pan. Add wine, water, thyme and rosemary sprigs. Bring to boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 1-2 hours, until the liquid reduces down to half.

Strain stock into a container. Cool to room temperature; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until fat congeals, at least 1 hour.

Skim fat from stock using soup spoon; reserve fat. I didn't have a lot of fat so I had to improvised with some bacon drippings I had stored (for chopped liver). Worked well enough. Butter would work too. Next time, I think I'll throw in some leftover chicken backs into the oven since I usually have those in the freezer for stock.

Pour stock through fine-mesh strainer to remove remaining bits of fat; discard bits in strainer. Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

In second medium saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons reserved fat over medium-high heat until bubbling; whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until combined and honey-colored, about 2 minutes. This will cook out the raw flavor of the flour.

Whisking constantly, gradually add hot stock. Be very very careful at this step since adding too much stock may cause a small boil over. Once all the stock has been added, bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days. Reheat over medium heat until hot, about 8 minutes.

In all honesty, pan dripping gravy is much easier but if we are frying turkey and wanted real turkey gravy, this is what I would do.

mothermayi said...

awesome...i'm gona keep this recipe...thanks! definitely a more complex recipe that others i've found..

Barefoot Plumies said...

I liked the taste of the gravy, good depth. But it is a bit tedious. But if you've got a large group, IMHO this is really the next best thing to dripping gravy.