Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving part 1

Who knew this year would fly by so fast? Most people are still trying to grasp the fact that Thanksgiving is now 2 days away while frantically searching for family recipes. This year I have decided to take a "modern" approach to cooking the turkey.

Many people dread roasting the whole bird, aiming to get the perfect color and equal doneness of both the light and dark meat. It is impossible to do. So, I have decided to approach the bird as I would any other protien, and cook it in such a way as to maximize the qualities of each cut.

Sous Vide turkey for Thanksgiving!

The first step requires an amazing bird. Nothing but the best, a Brannigan Turkey. Remove the breasts with skin on, and the leg and thigh pieces with skin also on.

Debone the legs and thighs. For the breast, I brine in the following solution;

~ 7 cups ice water
~ 1/2 cup salt
~ 1/4 cup honey
~ 1/4 cup brown sugar
~ 1 cup apple cider
~ 6 bay leaves
~ 1 bunch thyme
~ 1 bunch sage, chopped
~ 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
~ 1 green apple diced
~ 2 cinnamon sticks
~ 1 tablespoon candied ginger
~ zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon

Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup cider to boil with all ingredients. Once salt and sugar are dissolved, pout into a bowl and add remaining 6 cups of ice water to chill. Make sure this is ice cold, then add the breasts and brine in the refrigerator for 6 hours.

I find the above trick with ice water is the way to instant brining and not having to cool overnight prior to using.

I then place the breasts in a bag with 1 stick of butter, 2 tablspoons of maple syrup, a splash of bourbon that has been cooked, garlic, sage and thyme. Cook 3.5 hours sous vide at 144 degrees.

For the legs, I dry cure in the following recipe;

~ 1/2 cup salt (1/2 kosher and 1/2 pink curing salt)
~ 1/2 cup sugar (1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar)
~ 2 Tablspoons chopped thyme
~ 2 tablspoons chopped sage
~ 2 tablespoons peppercorns
~ 3 bay leaves crumbled
~ dash of all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg

Rub the legs and thighs with the mix and place in the refrigerator on a sheet tray overnight, at least 12 hours. Rinse, then add to a sous vide bag and compress with 1 stick butter, 1 cup olive oil, sage and garlic. Cook 12 hours at 174 degrees.

For the carcass, I make an amazing turkey stock. Start by chopping into smaller pieces of 4" or less, frying until very dark, adding mirepoix, apples, sage, thyme, deglazing with white wine, apple cider. Then transfer to a stockpot and simmer for 2.5 hours. Strain and reserve. Use this for your stuffing and gravy!

When the turkey is done cooking, I simply will remove the pieces from the bag, dry them off, place them under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the skin and my Turkey will be served!

Of course, no big grand entrance of the bird, but I will be able to drink a lot more and worry much less on Turkey day!

Cheers... photos coming as I take them! Happy Thanksgiving!

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