Monday, January 11, 2010

Best Ever Roast Turkey with Gravy

The Lebanese are famous for using alcohol either to soak their meat or to cook it in. from chicken, lamb, beef or turkey. Our famous leg of lamb which is marinated in red wine and herbs over night, then roasted in the oven, to end up on the table, yummy, juicy and tasty. Our Shawarma is marinated in red wine and spices for at least 24 hours before its cooked over a bed of charcoals or in the oven with delicious flavours , and the meat is falling apart from tenderness.
The famous chicken pieces which is marinated in beer overnight then baked in the oven speaks the same taste.

When I saw Chef Michel Smith/Chef At Home program on TV preparing a turkey by soaking it in brine which is a mix of water, salt and sugar, immediately I said, oh this is will be definitely good, the turkey meat is dryer than the chicken and it needs this method to keep the juice and flavour in when you roast it. I used the alcohol brine method several times before , and this method is less expensive and can be found in your pantry always, and you don't have to wait until you have some wine or beer at home to prepare your food. So I decided that our Christmas Turkey is going into a nice brine before it hits the oven....

the chef used an ice cooler, with several ice packs, I have nice plastic bins around 24 litres each , which I use to carry some items to the farmers market, they are not big, and sometimes I used them to rest my bread dough, I filled it half way with tap water, then added one cup of sea salt and one cup of sugar and stirred well to dissolve the mix in the water, then added a fifteen pound turkey; it needed more water, but I waited until the bin entered the fridge to add more water to cover the turkey. I emptied the last shelf of the upstairs fridge making enough room for the bin to sit. if you don't have the space to do this, for sure go ahead and use a clean ice cooler and follow the instruction. I added fresh sage leaves and bay leaves, some pepper corn and covered the bin and let it sit in the fridge for over 24 hours. (you can use salt and sugar only if you don't like the spices, or add your own flavours if you have a preference)

On Christmas day I took the turkey out of the bin, and let it drain completely on a rack, dried it well with paper towels, then melted one tablespoon of butter and brush it all over with a pastry brush, then sprinkled some fresh ground pepper and put it in the roasting pan which contained some cut carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, sage and 1/2 cup of water, (I cut the veggies so the rack will fit properly over them) I baked the turkey in a 425F hot convection oven for 30 minutes then lowered the heat to 300F and baked it for 3 hours,(20 minutes/pound) I did not baste the turkey at all during the roasting time.

in Lebanon we stuff our turkey with ground meat, nuts and chestnuts, here in North America the stuffing is served separately , and its made with different ingredients and flavours... And because my husband and his parents are used to these flavours , I prepared a homemade
traditional stuffing, and while the turkey was resting, I strained the sauce from the veggies, and put the Pyrex pot outside at the door, (it was -30 below zero) I wanted to skim the fat before I make my gravy, (though I have that fat free gravy pot - it doesnt work) lucky with the cold temperature, it took only 20 minutes and I was able to skim all the fat and returned the sauce to the roasting pan to prepare a delicious gravy....
we carried the food to my in laws - my mother is sick with MS and she cannot move any more.

All I can hear at the table, humm humm I was expecting more words but they were too busy enjoying the best ever turkey. Finally they all shouted it's awesome !!!

sorry I don't have more photos to share, as I forgot the camera at home....

Wait.......... I have the best gourmet dinner you ever tasted , using the leftover turkey.
including an awesome awesome dessert....