Archive for the 'Turkey' Category

Recipe: How to cook a turkey

|October 9, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen
 
There is nothing like a golden brown turkey that is moist, juicy and full of flavor in every bite. Nothing is worse than a bland, burnt and tasteless bird!

Before cooking your turkey, read the thread “How to clean a turkey”.

When planning your meal, allow approximately 1 to 1 ½ lbs. uncooked turkey per person.

For ROASTING:
For a simple roasted turkey, you can begin with brining to add flavor, keep your bird moist and tender.

Clean your defrosted turkey.

Make your brine:

In large, non-reactive container** (plastic, glass or stainless steel), add:
2 cups table salt
2 gallons cold water
Stir until salt dissolves.
Place turkey in container and place in refrigerator for 6 hours.

**Make sure the container is large enough to submerge the whole turkey.

Additional notes on brining: You can add sugar if you want – equal parts sugar and salt, stirring well to dissolve before placing the turkey in the brine. Some use honey or maple syrup in place of sugar. You can also add herbs and seasonings, if desired.

NOTE: Do not brine kosher or self-basting turkey. They are pre-treated in such a way that no additional salt is needed.

When ready to cook, removed turkey from brine and discard brine. Thoroughly rinse entire bird, inside and out using cold water; rinse for several minutes; pat dry with paper towels.

Use a large V-rack that fits into your roasting pan; cover rack with foil and poke holes to allow the heat to circulate.

Chop one onion, 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery; toss with thyme and place in roasting pan. This is a great way to add flavor to your pan drippings for making gravy. Pour a cup of water or chicken bouillon in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter and brush over dried turkey; brush entire bird and place breast down in V-rack. Place in preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush back and legs with pan drippings.
Cook an additional 45 minutes.
Brush entire surface with drippings again.
Cook another 30 minutes.
Continue this process until your bird is cooked – a meat thermometer should read 165* F. for the breast and 175* f., for the thigh.
Let rest 20 minutes before carving.

Stuff your bird the safe way
The USDA warns that cooking with stuffing can increase the chances of contracting a foodborne illness.

NOTE: If you bird is pre-stuffed DO NOT THAW BEFORE COOKING. ALWAYS COOK DIRECTLY FROM ITS FROZEN STATE.

Do NOT use fresh stuffing if you plan on grilling, smoking, frying or microwaving the turkey.

Do not combine stuffing ingredients for your stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate. Prepare everything immediately before you stuff the bird.

Do not overstuff. Stuffing expands while cooking so keep it loosely packed. Try to stick to the ratio of ¾ cup stuffing per pound of meat. Cook at 325* F.

NOTE: Cooking overnight at a lower temperature is not sufficient to keep bacteria from thriving. And stuffing should reach an internal temperature of at least 165* F. before turning off the heat.

For SMOKING:
Smoking a turkey add a warm, moist flavor and does not take any longer than traditional roasting. You can use a water-based method or smoke directly on the BBQ grill.

First of all, brine your turkey as described above to add moisture. It’s your choice if you want to use the direct heat method or the indirect heat method. Remember to replenish wood chips frequently. Do NOT stuff turkey that is being smoked.

Smoke turkey until done – breast meat should register 165* F. and thigh meat should register 175* F. on the meat thermometer.

OVEN SMOKED TURKEY

1 (10 to 12 pound) turkey
1/2 cup seasoned salt
1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
Vegetable oil

Grease a large brown paper grocery bag with vegetable oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash the turkey and pat dry with a paper towel. Combine 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder, liquid smoke and black pepper and mix together to make a paste. Rub the turkey well with the paste, inside and out. Place the turkey in the greased bag and tie the bag closed with a piece of string. Place on a baking sheet and roast 3 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before untying the bag and removing the turkey.

Two-Stage Roast Turkey with Southwestern Honey-Pepper Rub

* 3 sticks unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup ground cumin
* 4 tablespoons dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* Pinch of ground cloves
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1 (14 pound) turkey, well chilled

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Prepare the rub: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Pour butter into a large mixing bowl. Add pepper, cumin, oregano (pulverizing it with your fingers), chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, clove, and salt, mixing well. Drizzle in the honey and blend well.

3. Rub mixture all over the cold turkey?both on and under the skin, as evenly as possible. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan in the lower portion of the oven, legs toward the back. Roast until the turkey starts to turn golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes or so. (The white meat is done when a quick-read thermometer reaches 150 degrees.)
4. Remove turkey from oven and (at table, if desired), remove the large breast fillet from each side of the turkey. Let the fillets rest a few minutes before carving into slices. Serve white meat with Cilantro-Poblano Cream Sauce.

5. Meanwhile, return the rest of the bird to the 325-degree oven. Cook until the dark meat reaches 175 degrees, about 20 minutes more. Remove, let rest a few minutes, and serve the dark meat with Smoky Chipotle-Mushroom Gravy.

Recipe: Bad turkeys

|September 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

This happened a few years back – and I thought it would give you a chuckle –

 

Well – it’s getting closer!

Thanksgiving that is.

In today’s paper there is an ad for Tops Turkeys at Tops Markets. They say 29 cents/pound with a $15.00 purchase.

Not too sure about that one. You see – a few years back they (Tops Markets) had this slam-bang deal on their store brand turkeys. Of course, being a turkey family I purchased 4 Tops brand and 1 Riverside brand; stuffed them in the freezers – one for Christmas and the others for anytime we wanted turkey.

This one particular year – we were going to do something different. Since it was going to be a very quiet day and it was going to be just us – and of course that year they were going to have the stores opened on Turkey Day so that we could get a jump on holiday shopping – we had this “brainstorm” of cooking the turkey the day before Thanksgiving.

So the day before was quite hectic with the baking, roasting the bird, etc. and we used the carcass to make soup/broth so we did that as well. For Thanksgiving we would still have a great meal – but hardly any mess with all the extra pans. So we had visions of having dinner at noon, hitting the stores and SHOPPING!

Pffft. Hell with that idea.

The turkey was bad. And I mean BAD! It had to be tossed. So was the big pan of broth made from it.

OMG! It’s Thanksgiving! NO TURKEY.

Quick – grab one out of the freezer – and freeze our hands off doing the quick thaw in the cold water routine. We worked that sucker for two hours – massaging, wrestling – anything – just to thaw his butt (which got cut off anyway) and cook him up.

So our noon meal consisted of the veggies, salad, bread. At dinnertime we would have turkey and gravy with leftover sweet potatoes and veggies.

NOT! Turkey #2 – in the garbage.

Grab Tops turkey #3 – by 8 PM he was in the oven. By 12:30 in the morning we are tasting another bad turkey. Toss it.

Now it’s tops turkey #4 – he went in the oven at 8 AM the day after Thanksgiving. Then he went in the garbage by 1 PM.

What I should have done was taken all 4 birds, wrapped them up with a bow, found out where the damn store manager lived, gone to his house and force-fed him those turkeys. And then stick the rest where the sun don’t shine.

But instead – I went to Walmart. The day after Thanksgiving with all the loonies that knock down people at 4 in the morning to get their sale items. Me? I was there for a turkey! That’s it. No other shopping – just give me a turkey! After all – food stores don’t open till 6 or 7 AM – and I needed a bird NOW! Walmart is open earlier.

I still had the Riverside turkey from Tops in the freezer – but I was afraid to roast it. Not after the last 4 birds.

So here I am – cart in hand – I run to the grocery department – which of course I had to myself because the loonies went the other way. Grabbed a couple birds and went home.

Two birds in the freezer – one for a quick thaw with the massaging and wrestling all over again. Hacked off his ass and in the oven he went.

Damn good turkey. Made damn good broth/soup. Did I do any shopping? Yeah – for 3 turkeys at Walmart – that was it.

After that – cook the bird on Thanksgiving and stay home. Forget all the hoopla about shopping. It’s not worth it. And most of the time the same items are the sale price anyway. And be careful when the stores offer you such a good deal! There is a method to their madness.

You may wonder about the Riverside turkey I got at Tops the same day I bought the others. I refused to make it for Christmas. I pushed him to one side of the freezer as if he had typhoid and was quarantined. I did end up roasting him on a non-holiday in January. He was good and made a good soup/broth.

So you see – just because Tops has turkeys for 29 cents/pound – I’m not jumping for it. I’d rather pay much more and have a good turkey on the table.

I realize that the more turkeys (or other food items) a chain purchases – the cheaper they get them. And they get to store them in their freezers until they need them. But these birds had to be 2 years old or more. And to think that Tops Markets donates their brand of turkeys to food banks by the truck load. Those poor people who got them. And that was the year they (Tops) showed their big trucks loaded with turkeys going to the food pantries. I should have saved all those turkeys and put it on television for all to see.

Aren’t you glad I shared that one with you? The Thanksgiving I cooked 5 turkeys – 4 for the garbage and 1 for us. I think if I would have had company that year I would have been mortified! Never have I ever had that happen to me in all the decades of cooking turkeys.

Recipe: Sometimes I am my own worse enemy!

|August 13, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

You know – there are days and then there are days.

Well today was one of those days.

I know that Thanksgiving isnot that far off – but I have been craving turkey for the past month! I love turkey and I always have a couple in the freezer for my turkey cravings. So this morning I pulled the last of the turkeys (now I can stock up on them again – time to watch for the sales) out of the chest freezer and stuck ol' Tom in a sink of cold water.

Changing the cold water every 15 minutes and wrestling with his body parts took me from 8 this morning till almost 1 this afternoon when I finally got his butt in the oven! Well – not his butt – that got hacked off as soon as I could do it. No butts in my house – turkey or chicken – off with the butts immediately! Several of my friends would kill for the butts – not in my house – those things are disgusting!

Those damn wires they use for holding the legs in position! Cripe – thank heaven I have a kitchen pliers for the job. Everyone should have a good set of pliers in there utensil drawer just for this type of job. FINALLY I got him thawed completely (my hands are frozen from it) and gave him a nice bath in the sink. Cut off some of the neck fat, pulled out his innards – saved the neck and tossed the rest. Got him well "powdered" (don't you use powder after a bath???) with salt, pepper, fresh parsley and fresh garlic – inside and out. A touch of oil in the pan and into the oven he went. Washed and seasoned the neck the same way and laid it on top. Covered him with foil and in he went at 350* F. I let him cook for a good 2 hours before I turned him over and put the neck on his back. Covered again and bake in the oven. It's now 4:30 and I removed the foil to brown him. Then I will turn him over and brown him some more.

I can't wait to enjoy the neck! I've got to make the gravy, the potatoes are boiling for mashed potatoes, buttered corn and my stove top dressing – homemade. I broke my homemade bread (homemade bread makes the best stuffing/dressing) in-between wrestling with Tom while trying to thaw him.

Cooked my veggies in my stainless steel bowl (one of those big ones – great for making stuffing!), added my bread and broth and transferred to a baking dish. Popped in the oven a while ago to heat through.

I figure dinner will be on the table and ready to enjoy by 5:30. Not bad for what I went through.

After dinner I'll strip the turkey down to the bones and place the bones and skin, and the wings in the stock pot with onions, carrots, celery and seasonings to make a large pot of stock. It won't take too long because the turkey is a cooked product. Then I'll strain it and ladle into quart jars so that I have stock in the freezer. Place the jars in the refrigerator overnight, cap them tomorrow and place in the freezer. From the looks of it – this is a tender turkey and I will get a really good stock from it. I'll save some and make a pot of soup for tomorrow with veggies and macaroni. Served with turkey panini on Italian bread and I've got another excellent meal.

I know I will have leftover turkey – some I will portion and freeze to have with BBQ sauce. Some I will freeze in gravy for another meal or open-faced sammmies.

As far as the stuffing/dressing goes – we will devour that between today and tomorrow. I love dressing. I don't make stuffing. Too great of a chance of bacteria setting in – besides – it tastes so much better when it is not in the bird. I make dressing quite often. It goes great with turkey, chicken or pork. For the life of me, I don't understand why people only make it once a year for Thanksgiving. And why do they use those boxed stuffing mixes? YUCKY! Do you really need all the MSG?

Waste not, want not.

Save all the heels from your bread and those last couple slices, save your rolls, etc. and place in a bread bag in the freezer. When you get enough – make dressing. White bread, rye bread, wheat bread – it all goes so well together. Including potato bread and egg bread. Even seeded rolls! Sweet breads should be saved in a separate bread bag in the freezer for making bread puddings. Betcha never thought of that one.

Well it's time for me to finish my dinner so I can start my soup.

And of course – I'll have my "turkey coma" later – and I have worked hard for it – I deserve it!

Recipe: Sometimes I am my own worse enemy! from 10/2009

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

You know – there are days and then there are days.

Well today was one of those days.

I know that Thanksgiving is just a month and a half away – but I have been craving turkey for the past month! I love turkey and I always have a couple in the freezer for my turkey cravings. So this morning I pulled the last of the turkeys (now I can stock up on them again – time to watch for the sales) out of the chest freezer and stuck ol' Tom in a sink of cold water.

Changing the cold water every 15 minutes and wrestling with his body parts took me from 8 this morning till almost 1 this afternoon when I finally got his butt in the oven! Well – not his butt – that got hacked off as soon as I could do it. No butts in my house – turkey or chicken – off with the butts immediately! Several of my friends would kill for the butts – not in my house – those things are disgusting!

Those damn wires they use for holding the legs in position! Cripe – thank heaven I have a kitchen pliers for the job. Everyone should have a good set of pliers in there utensil drawer just for this type of job. FINALLY I got him thawed completely (my hands are frozen from it) and gave him a nice bath in the sink. Cut off some of the neck fat, pulled out his innards – saved the neck and tossed the rest. Got him well "powdered" (don't you use powder after a bath???) with salt, pepper, fresh parsley and fresh garlic – inside and out. A touch of oil in the pan and into the oven he went. Washed and seasoned the neck the same way and laid it on top. Covered him with foil and in he went at 350* F. I let him cook for a good 2 hours before I turned him over and put the neck on his back. Covered again and bake in the oven. It's now 4:30 and I removed the foil to brown him. Then I will turn him over and brown him some more.

I can't wait to enjoy the neck! I've got to make the gravy, the potatoes are boiling for mashed potatoes, buttered corn and my stove top dressing – homemade. I broke my homemade bread (homemade bread makes the best stuffing/dressing) in-between wrestling with Tom while trying to thaw him.

Cooked my veggies in my stainless steel bowl (one of those big ones – great for making stuffing!), added my bread and broth and transferred to a baking dish. Popped in the oven a while ago to heat through.

I figure dinner will be on the table and ready to enjoy by 5:30. Not bad for what I went through.

After dinner I'll strip the turkey down to the bones and place the bones and skin, and the wings in the stock pot with onions, carrots, celery and seasonings to make a large pot of stock. It won't take too long because the turkey is a cooked product. Then I'll strain it and ladle into quart jars so that I have stock in the freezer. Place the jars in the refrigerator overnight, cap them tomorrow and place in the freezer. From the looks of it – this is a tender turkey and I will get a really good stock from it. I'll save some and make a pot of soup for tomorrow with veggies and macaroni. Served with turkey panini on Italian bread and I've got another excellent meal.

I know I will have leftover turkey – some I will portion and freeze to have with BBQ sauce. Some I will freeze in gravy for another meal or open-faced sammmies.

As far as the stuffing/dressing goes – we will devour that between today and tomorrow. I love dressing. I don't make stuffing. Too great of a chance of bacteria setting in – besides – it tastes so much better when it is not in the bird. I make dressing quite often. It goes great with turkey, chicken or pork. For the life of me, I don't understand why people only make it once a year for Thanksgiving. And why do they use those boxed stuffing mixes? YUCKY! Do you really need all the MSG?

Waste not, want not.

Save all the heels from your bread and those last couple slices, save your rolls, etc. and place in a bread bag in the freezer. When you get enough – make dressing. White bread, rye bread, wheat bread – it all goes so well together. Including potato bread and egg bread. Even seeded rolls! Sweet breads should be saved in a separate bread bag in the freezer for making bread puddings. Betcha never thought of that one.

Well it's time for me to finish my dinner so I can start my soup.

And of course – I'll have my "turkey coma" later – and I have worked hard for it – I deserve it!

Recipe: Using leftover chicken for a casserole –

|February 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

We've all enjoyed leftovers – face it.  Many of us were raised not to waste anything.  Generation buddies – remember your mom and gram always telling you to eat what was on your plate – "there are children all over the world that are starving" – and that was that. 

But leftovers can really be something to look forward to, 

I roasted a bird (chicken) – almost 3 pounds and served with sour cream mashed potatoes, gravy, corn on the cob, steamed carrots, and homemade biscuits.

Having chicken leftover, I just placed it in the refrigerator overnight.


The next day, I felt like some comfort food – just gearing up for the pleasant months coming.


I removed the meat from the bones, cleaning well and removing any "yuck" and skin. Dice. Meanwhile – preheat oven to 350* F.

Using a family-size can of cream of chicken soup – I placed half the can in my casserole dish and placed my diced chicken on top, and topped that with a can (14 -15 oz.) mixed vegetables. At the same time I was cooking my egg noodles.


When the noodles were done – added to my baking dish with the remaining condensed soup and less than a half can of milk; mixed well. Topped with dry bread crumbs and drizzled with melted butter.
350* F. for 20 to 25 minutes to heat through –

Served with a basic salad of lettuce and tomatoes with homemade croutons. Easy to make – since the oven was already on I cut thick slices of Italian bread and placed in a single layer on a baking sheet; placed in the oven for about 15 minutes to toast lightly, turning twice.

This is so simple to make, and you can use leftover veggies of choice.  Also –  try leftover turkey, ham, sausage, pork, beef, fish or seafood,  and any cream soup, white sauce or cheese sauce!

Recipe: How to cook a turkey

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

There is nothing like a golden brown turkey that is moist, juicy and full of flavor in every bite. Nothing is worse than a bland, burnt and tasteless bird!


Before cooking your turkey, read the thread “How to clean a turkey”.


When planning your meal, allow approximately 1 to 1 ½ lbs. uncooked turkey per person.

 


For ROASTING:
For a simple roasted turkey, you can begin with brining to add flavor, keep your bird moist and tender.


Clean your defrosted turkey.


Make your brine:
In large, non-reactive container** (plastic, glass or stainless steel), add:
2 cups table salt
2 gallons cold water
Stir until salt dissolves.


Place turkey in container and place in refrigerator for 6 hours.
**Make sure the container is large enough to submerge the whole turkey.


Additional notes on brining: You can add sugar if you want – equal parts sugar and salt, stirring well to dissolve before placing the turkey in the brine. Some use honey or maple syrup in place of sugar. You can also add herbs and seasonings, if desired.


NOTE: Do not brine kosher or self-basting turkey. They are pre-treated in such a way that no additional salt is needed.

 


When ready to cook, removed turkey from brine and discard brine. Thoroughly rinse entire bird, inside and out using cold water; rinse for several minutes; pat dry with paper towels.


Use a large V-rack that fits into your roasting pan; cover rack with foil and poke holes to allow the heat to circulate.


Chop one onion, 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery; toss with thyme and place in roasting pan. This is a great way to add flavor to your pan drippings for making gravy. Pour a cup of water or chicken bouillon in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter and brush over dried turkey; brush entire bird and place breast down in V-rack. Place in preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes.


Remove from oven and brush back and legs with pan drippings.


Cook an additional 45 minutes.


Brush entire surface with drippings again.
Cook another 30 minutes.


Continue this process until your bird is cooked – a meat thermometer should read 165* F. for the breast and 175* f., for the thigh.


Let rest 20 minutes before carving.

 


Stuff your bird the safe way


The USDA warns that cooking with stuffing can increase the chances of contracting a foodborne illness.


NOTE: If you bird is pre-stuffed DO NOT THAW BEFORE COOKING. ALWAYS COOK DIRECTLY FROM ITS FROZEN STATE.


Do NOT use fresh stuffing if you plan on grilling, smoking, frying or microwaving the turkey.


Do not combine stuffing ingredients for your stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate. Prepare everything immediately before you stuff the bird.
Do not overstuff. Stuffing expands while cooking so keep it loosely packed. Try to stick to the ratio of ¾ cup stuffing per pound of meat. Cook at 325* F.


NOTE: Cooking overnight at a lower temperature is not sufficient to keep bacteria from thriving. And stuffing should reach an internal temperature of at least 165* F. before turning off the heat.

 


For SMOKING:


Smoking a turkey add a warm, moist flavor and does not take any longer than traditional roasting. You can use a water-based method or smoke directly on the BBQ grill.


First of all, brine your turkey as described above to add moisture. It’s your choice if you want to use the direct heat method or the indirect heat method. Remember to replenish wood chips frequently.

Do NOT stuff turkey that is being smoked.


Smoke turkey until done – breast meat should register 165* F. and thigh meat should register 175* F. on the meat thermometer.

 


OVEN SMOKED TURKEY


1 (10 to 12 pound) turkey
1/2 cup seasoned salt
1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
Vegetable oil


Grease a large brown paper grocery bag with vegetable oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Wash the turkey and pat dry with a paper towel. Combine 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder, liquid smoke and black pepper and mix together to make a paste. Rub the turkey well with the paste, inside and out. Place the turkey in the greased bag and tie the bag closed with a piece of string. Place on a baking sheet and roast 3 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before untying the bag and removing the turkey.

 


Two-Stage Roast Turkey with Southwestern Honey-Pepper Rub


* 3 sticks unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup ground cumin
* 4 tablespoons dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* Pinch of ground cloves
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1 (14 pound) turkey, well chilled


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


2. Prepare the rub: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Pour butter into a large mixing bowl. Add pepper, cumin, oregano (pulverizing it with your fingers), chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, clove, and salt, mixing well. Drizzle in the honey and blend well.


3. Rub mixture all over the cold turkey?both on and under the skin, as evenly as possible. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan in the lower portion of the oven, legs toward the back. Roast until the turkey starts to turn golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes or so. (The white meat is done when a quick-read thermometer reaches 150 degrees.)


4. Remove turkey from oven and (at table, if desired), remove the large breast fillet from each side of the turkey. Let the fillets rest a few minutes before carving into slices. Serve white meat with Cilantro-Poblano Cream Sauce.


5. Meanwhile, return the rest of the bird to the 325-degree oven. Cook until the dark meat reaches 175 degrees, about 20 minutes more. Remove, let rest a few minutes, and serve the dark meat with Smoky Chipotle-Mushroom Gravy.