Author Topic: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?  (Read 15125 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #60 on: November 04, 2013, 06:45:35 PM »
LOL!

Hmmmmm

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #61 on: November 04, 2013, 07:30:01 PM »
I've done a turkey breast with the butter under the skin--maybe I'll try that. Because I don't know how on earth I'd keep a brining turkey cold in my apartment.

Get a massive size ziplock bag... they have them called brining bags now.  Feel an ice chest with ice on the bottom. Put the bag with the brine and turkey in the ice chest and add more ice. I use a 50 Qrt Igloo MaxCold that keeps ice cold for 5 days. Or if you have a fridge with a large bottom vegetable drawer, most turkeys and the brine in one of these bags will fit in there. Then you use the ice chest to hold all your vegetables that no longer fit in your fridge. I follow a crazy recipe mashup between Alton Brown, Epicurious, and America's Test Kitchen... so I start brining on Tuesday, take out on Wed mid day, dry it really well and then put in the fridge to dry out the skin so I can get a crispy skin. The non-crispy skin is what most people complain about.

There's also lots of recipes out there for "dry brine" so takes less room. I haven't tried it but have read lots of articles that some like them better than a wet brine. But my family would shoot me if I changed the turkey up. I'm allowed to modify any thing except the turkey, the dressing, and the sweet potatoes.

ladyknight1

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #62 on: November 04, 2013, 08:03:16 PM »
I brine my turkey two nights before the big day. I use a sugar and salt brine. I brine the turkey overnight in a big cooler with ice packs. I pull the turkey out the next day and rinse it, pat it dry with paper towels and put it on a baking rack over a sheet pan then put it all in the fridge to air dry. It yields a very crisp skin. I roast it back up for 45 minutes, on one side 15 minutes, the other 15 minutes, then breast up for 30-45 minutes. It is the Americas Test Kitchen Roast Crisped-Skin Turkey recipe, and you throw aromatics into the cavity and the pan for the gravy. I have made this turkey at least twice a year for a decade. Never turns out badly.

For GF gravy, I would start early in the morning with a rice flour and butter roux, adding chicken broth until you get the volume you need. Let it simmer until the bird is done, and add any juices from the pan.

I hope it works out well for you!


TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #63 on: November 05, 2013, 03:54:13 PM »
Thanks for all the brining tips, etc.!

And for the good wishes.

I think I'm going to need to practice gravy next week.

Hmmmmm

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #64 on: November 05, 2013, 04:12:39 PM »
Here's a link to a recipe for making gravy ahead of time. I tried this last year because I needed to make a gluten free gravy. I was concerned that not having a roux made with flour would really decrease the richness. I made the stock using this method of pre-roasting wings and then creating a stock. I then used cornstarch to thicken it. I also added a splash of sherry prior to adding the corn starch thickner. It was great and I got a ton of compliments.

I made it again last January and couldn't find turkey wings but found frozen turkey tails and I used them. Those worked really well too for creating a flavorfull broth.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/turkey-gravy-recipe/index.html

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #65 on: November 05, 2013, 05:14:07 PM »
ooh, yay, thanks so much!

POF

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #66 on: November 05, 2013, 05:18:27 PM »
Thanks for all the brining tips, etc.!

And for the good wishes.

I think I'm going to need to practice gravy next week.

Toots - I think the most sensible thing to do is to recreate your entire menu next week and invite a bunch of us over to critique.  I am in Boston and will take the train down :)

bwahahahahahaha


TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #67 on: November 05, 2013, 05:29:15 PM »
Thanks for all the brining tips, etc.!

And for the good wishes.

I think I'm going to need to practice gravy next week.

Toots - I think the most sensible thing to do is to recreate your entire menu next week and invite a bunch of us over to critique.  I am in Boston and will take the train down :)

bwahahahahahaha

Snork!

I think I'll also practice the Bisquick gluten-free biscuits, and see if they freeze well as dough.

PastryGoddess

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #68 on: November 05, 2013, 05:39:28 PM »
Thanks for all the brining tips, etc.!

And for the good wishes.

I think I'm going to need to practice gravy next week.

Toots - I think the most sensible thing to do is to recreate your entire menu next week and invite a bunch of us over to critique.  I am in Boston and will take the train down :)

bwahahahahahaha



I'm in Baltimore and can take the train up.  We should get there at the same time ;)

ladyknight1

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #69 on: November 05, 2013, 07:03:39 PM »
I will have a practice gravy session as we have a pot luck at work. I am making Halal turkey gravy for the first time!

peaches

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #70 on: November 05, 2013, 11:11:28 PM »
Toots, I picked up the latest issue of Good Housekeeping in the grocery tonight, and it has a Thanksgiving menu by Ina Garten. She has this easy make-ahead gravy recipe, which I plan to try this year.

The article says you can make this 4 days ahead and keep in the refrigerator.


Homemade Gravy
Ina Garten, Good Housekeeping Nov 2013

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 cups chicken broth or stock, heated
1 Tablespoon Cognac or brandy
1 Tablespoon cream (optional)

Turkey drippings ( optional)

In a 12 inch skillet, cook butter and onion on med.-low heat 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Whisk in flour, then 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add broth and Cognac; cook, uncovered, 4 to 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cream, if using. Gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days. Reheat on med.-low, adding pan drippings from turkey, if desired.


My notes:
*If adding turkey drippings to gravy, use defatted drippings. Pour drippings from the roasting pan into a bowl or measuring cup and let sit a few minutes, till fat rises to the top. Skim off as much fat as possible, using a spoon. Then add, a little at a time, to gravy until gravy is the consistency you want. 

*When using Ina’s recipes, I always add half the salt called for; then I taste, and add more if needed. (Also, she uses Kosher salt. If  using table salt, use less.)


 
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 11:14:01 PM by peaches »

Dindrane

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #71 on: November 05, 2013, 11:45:23 PM »
I was going to post the Alton Brown turkey brining recipe, because it is seriously the most amazing turkey I've ever had. I never actually liked turkey growing up, but I seriously love the brined turkeys we've made since we discovered the Alton Brown recipe. The best thing about it is that a brined turkey seems to be a little more foolproof than one that isn't, in that it's a little bit harder to overcook it (or at least, overcook it to the point where it doesn't taste good).

I've cooked a turkey breast plus drumstick or two in the past, largely because my husband and I have spent Thanksgiving with just the two of us for the past 6 years. After discovering the brined turkey recipe, I decided to just go ahead and find the smallest whole turkey we could and try cooking that. It's darned near impossible to use aromatics with a deconstructed turkey.

So the turkeys we've made the past couple of years have been maybe 12 pounds or so, but we haven't had any trouble brining them in a bag and sticking them in our (rather small) refrigerator. It does mean we have to be highly strategic about our fridge space, but it is possible to brine a turkey successfully in a bag.

One other thing I've done that you could test out, if you wanted, is make gravy with cornstarch and then refrigerate it. It was usually because I cooked it to the thickness I wanted and then had leftovers, so I stuck it in the fridge. Cornstarch-thickened gravy that has been refrigerated doesn't get less thick, although it can take on a bit more of a glutinous appearance. On the other hand, it stays thick when heated and looks more like normal gravy once it's hot.

I finally did master the art of the roux somewhat recently, though, so I've been using that to thicken sauce more often than cornstarch. One thing that's nice about roux is that (at least in theory, since I've never personally tried this) you can make a bunch in advance and stick it in the fridge. I think you're supposed to heat it up a little before you add any liquid to it, but it's one way to take some of the guesswork out of thickening your gravy. For a gluten-free roux, this was the first website that came up in Google when I did a search for that term: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/01/gluten-free-tuesday-roux-rice-flour.html

Anyway, I agree with everyone else that a practice run is probably a great idea, as long as you like Turkey. Cooking a lot of dishes for a lot of people is complicated anyway, but I'm guessing there's an added layer of performance that makes it harder for you to do all of that, above and beyond just having people in the house.


TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #72 on: November 06, 2013, 12:01:30 AM »
You're right about the performance and distractions factors! That's why the trial run occurred to me.

And that's great to know, that you could fit it into the fridge. Ours isn't huge, but it isn't small either, particularly. And if it has to sit for 12 hours out of the brine, then there's hope.

Dindrane

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #73 on: November 06, 2013, 01:07:08 AM »
The smallness of my fridge is forever surprising me (and it's poorly designed, too, so we can't usually make the most of what space we do have). The turkeys we've brined took up a significant chunk of the bottom shelf of the fridge, but not all of it. The idea of putting the turkey in a crisper drawer is actually a good one, and you'd probably be able to put a lot of the vegetables you normally keep in there in other parts of the fridge (or just in a cooler, as was suggested, since most vegetables don't strictly need to be refrigerated).

But truly, brined and roasted poultry is kind of an amazing thing. We've done it with chickens, too, and they're just as good as the turkey we make. That's something else you could try (more easily than a turkey) if you wanted to get a feel for brining before committing to do it for a whole turkey. You could either cut down the Alton Brown brine recipe, or find another recipe meant for chicken.


sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #74 on: November 06, 2013, 05:16:01 AM »
I have never bought a fresh turkey from the butcher.  We always just get a frozen turkey and all works out well.

We buy it about a week before Tday, keep it in the fridge and the bring out the night before Tday to sit in the sink and thaw.  (I know, I know, alot of people say they would never do this, but I have been doing for about twenty years and my family before me and the turkety has never made anyone sick).

My husband cooks the turkey.  We go by the directions on the turkey package as to how many pounds it is and how long to cook per pound.  He puts it into a roasting pan.  Usually, even with a fresh turkey, I think it is about twenty minutes per pound.  He puts some water in the pan, rubs the turkey with olive oil and adds some salt and pepper to the turkey.  And that is basically it.   He will baste it every so often, but that is it.  He covers the pan with aluminum foil because our lid won't fit with the turkey and towards the end, removes the foil, so the skin browns nice and even.  Easy peasy and we always get raves on our turkey.  He said the trick is not to over cook the turkey.  I think he sets the oven at 350.

I do most of everything else and I make as much as possible the night or the weekend before.  Potato filling, mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, corn pudding, (or in our area of Berks County, PA, Kopes corn in a can) and maybe another vegetable.   I made fresh cranberry sauce once, nope.  My family likes it from the can.  Buy rolls and heat them. 

I don't usually make pies, we buy them from Sam's club, (super yummy), but I found this pumpkin cake dessert I think I will make this year.  It is yummy.   

Gravy.  Heck, never make fresh gravy.  I suggest you buy it in a jar or can.   Easy peasy.  If your family does not like it, they can make the gravy. 

Since there is so much for dinner, we really don't do salad or appetizers. 

Just read your post about gluten free gravy, sorry.  Did not know this.  About just buying it in a jar or can.   You could practice with a small turkey to get the gravy for your big meal and then add that gravy to your big meal.

I thaw my turkey the same way except I fill the sink with cold water and ice cubes before I go to bed thr night before.   I also run cold water thru the inside of the turkey when preparing it to ensure it is completely thawed.

I also just buy Butter ball frozen.  I got a fresh turkey once and it wasn't as good as a butter ball.  Weight is definitely an important detail to know.   Cook it at 325.  There are videos and pictures online exactly where to position the temp probe.   

For a no fail gravy, go to food.com amd search for kittencal's easy gravy.  I have never had luck with gravy til I followed her step by step directions.   I think I gave you the link in your thread last year , Toots.