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Thanksgiving Turkey

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | November 17th, 2011 | Main Dishes, Recipes
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Almost every Thanksgiving dinner centers around the turkey.  Sure, there are exceptions, such as our vegetarian daughter who will be enjoying a fine black bean cake instead, but the majority of homes prepare turkey as the highlight of the meal.  If you are one of the many who is preparing turkey, there still is room for creativity.  The use of herbs and marinades can add a little flair to your dinner.

Each of the turkey recipes I am sharing has its own unique flavor.  One has a delectable combination of balsamic and apples; the other has a delicious maple brine and rosemary-maple butter sauce.  Now all you have to do is decide which will be more pleasing to your family’s palate.

Balsamic Roasted Turkey with Apple Stuffing

Serves 12
Chef Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry


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Ingredients
  1. 1 turkey (10-15 pounds)
  2. ½ cup grapeseed oil
  3. ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  4. 1 Tb. celtic sea salt
  5. 10 apples, cored and sliced in half
  6. 4 sprigs rosemary
Instructions
  1. To thaw out a frozen turkey place in refrigerator –this will take about one day for every 5 pounds, a 15 pound bird needs 3 days.
  2. Alternatively, thaw the bird in a cold water bath, this requires 30 minutes per pound –7 ½ hours for a 15 pound bird. Below are cooking instructions for the thawed turkey.
  3. Remove the gizzards (save in refrigerator for gravy).  Rinse bird well and pat dry with paper towels; then truss (tie legs together with string). 
  4. Place turkey breast side up in a roasting pan, then  put rosemary inside bird.  Drizzle bird with grapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with salt.  
  5. Wedge apples around roasting pan to prop turkey up evenly –place 2 apple halves in cavity of bird.     Place roasting pan with turkey, apples, etc. in oven on lowest rack. 
  6. Roast at 325°, 15 minutes per pound; a 15 pound turkey requires 3 hours and 45 minutes.  If skin begins to brown too soon, cover with foil. 
  7. To check temperature stick a meat thermometer deep into thigh; at 175° it is safely done.  Remove turkey from oven and allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.  Serve.
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Grilled Maple-Brined Turkey with Rosemary-Maple Butter Sauce
Chef Todd English, author of Cooking in Everyday English


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Ingredients
  1. 2-1/2 cups kosher salt
  2. 2-1/2 cups maple syrup
  3. 1/2 cup whole peppercorns
  4. 16 cups cold water
  5. 8 bay leaves
  6. 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
  7. 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  8. 14-lb. organic turkey, butterflied
  9. Rosemary-Maple Butter Sauce, recipe below
  10. Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs
Instructions
  1. To prepare brine, cook first 3 ingredients and 8 cups cold water in a 16 quart stockpot over high heat, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until salt is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat, and stir in bay leaves, next 2 ingredients, and remaining 8 cups cold water. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Add turkey; cover and chill 12 hours, weighing turkey down, if needed, to keep submerged.
  4. Lightly grease 1 side of grill, and heat grill to 400 to 500 degrees (high) heat; leave other side unlit. Remove turkey from brine, discarding brine.
  5. Pat turkey dry, and place, breast side down, over unlit side of grill. Grill over indirect heat, covered, 2 to 2 ½ hours or until skin is well browned and a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 165 degrees.
  6. Flip turkey halfway through cook time. Shield with aluminum foil during last 30 minutes of grilling. Remove from grill, and let stand 20 minutes before carving.
  7. Serve turkey with Rosemary-Maple Butter Sauce. Garnish, if desired. 8 to 10 servings.
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Rosemary-Maple Butter Sauce


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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  3. 2 Tb. fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  4. Kosher salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook syrup, butter, and rosemary in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking often, 2 minutes or until butter is melted.
  2. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Serve turkey with sauce.
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