Emeril's Brined and Roasted Turkey

I actually posted this on my other blog first, I Love Sweet Treats, but I am so excited how my first turkey turned out so I had to post it over on this blog as well. I know my other blog does not sound very Weight Watchers friendly (it isn't), which is why I have two sites. Because I still like to cook the not so healthy things every once in awhile for company or a cheat day. I have been trying to revamp some of the recipes to lower cal and fat recipes which is why some of my recipes are on both sites. Anyways, I got this from good ole' Emeril...
This was my first turkey I ever made and I have to say that it came out really good considering I am not a big fan of turkey. I was searching for the perfect turkey recipe and came across Emeril's turkey brine recipe from the Food Network. Oh my goodness! The turkey was very moist even after I overcooked it. The reason behind the overcooking is because my parents have had a really bad and long history of not cooking their turkey completely so we always had to throw it away and eat the other main dish which was a brown sugar pinapple glazed ham. It looked cooked and my parents cooked it longer than the stated time, but I am not sure what happened. It was probably due to the commercial type roasting pan my mother said she had to have. The problem with the pan was that it was so thick. I ditched that commercial roasting pan and used one of those foil disposable throw away roasting pans, which worked out great for me. I also cooked the turkey over the amount stated as well and with the recommendation from my father - I cooked it until the thermometer reached 185 degrees which is 20 degrees over the amount Emeril states! Otherwise no one would touch the turkey because of what happened in the past. Through all that cooking, the turkey survived and was still juicy and tender. Imagine that. I soaked the turkey in a cooler overnight and put ice cubes in gallon size bags inside of the cooler to keep the turkey cold. If the ice melted, it would not dilute the brine solution. I made about 5 of these bags and placed them around the turkey. The original recipe states to use 2 gallons of water to make the brine mixture, but I have seen quite a few recipes use 1 gallon of water and 1 gallon of vegetable broth, so this is what I used. Use whichever method you prefer but I personally like the added extra flavor of the vegetable broth. The turkey was very flavorful and I think I just found my perfect recipe the first try! So now I am nomintated for being responsible for making the turkey. Fine by me as long as I have Emeril.

Emeril's Brined and Roasted Turkey

1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey
Brine, recipe follows
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths
1 large orange, cut into 8ths
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting

Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.
Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan, and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.

Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.

Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
1 gallon vegetable broth

To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 1 gallon of cold water and 1 gallon of vegetable in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.

Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.

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