Maine Ingredient – Turkey and Accompaniments

The latest column is hopefully a help to all of those who stress over Thanksgiving Dinner.  I offered to help by email anyone who would like to ask questions about their specific meal.  Happy to help blog readers too.  I’ll post any questions so that everyone can benefit.

Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast
Sage and Rosemary Gravy
Cranberry and Challah Stuffing

Grateful for ALL of it

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Turkey Confit

If you don’t care to break down your own turkey, it’s easy enough to ask your butcher to provide these pieces for you.  I know its not common to have 4 cups of rendered fat hanging around most households, but again, your butcher can provide this for you. I used pork fat rendered from a whole pig broken down last winter.  It was deeelicious.  Lard can be found in either the baking or butter section of your grocery store.

If you would like breast meat as well, you have a couple of options.  One is to confit both breasts, bone on, with everything else.  The directions and timing would remain the same.  The other is to brine the breast and roast it while the rest is heating up and skin crisping.  That recipe is part of today’s Brined Turkey Breast column in the PPH.  The third option is to simply marinate it in something sagey, garlicky and delicious and roast it again while the confit is crisping up.

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh black pepper
5 tablespoons minced sage and rosemary
legs, wings and thighs from a 12 to 14 pound turkey
4 cups duck fat, port fat or lard

Pulverize the salt, pepper and herbs in a food processor or spice grinder.  Rub the entire exterior of the turkey pieces and place on a platter with sides high enough to catch any liquid that will drain from the turkey.  Do not cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place the turkey and fat in a Dutch oven or other oven proof pot with lid.  Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the meat is so tender it is nearly (but not) falling off the bones.

At this point you can remove the turkey and crisp up the skin right away.  Even better is to cool the turkey completely.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use it and then bake it for an hour on a roasting pan.  Serve immediately and enjoy how the skin is crispy and the meat just falls off the bone.

Serves 6 to 8

Happy Turkey Day to you all!

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Stuffed Turkey Breast

The fancy word for stuffed turkey breast is “galantine,” which I love because it sounds so elegant.  In any event, it’s a fairly easy, but elegant way to serve turkey for a small group.  With lots of side dishes you could get away with 8 to 10 people.

Use your favorite stuffing or my recipes for Cranberry and Challah Stuffing; Bacon, Rosemary and Cornbread Stuffing or  Sausage and Apple Stuffing.

3 cups of your favorite stuffing
deboned whole turkey breast from a 12 to 14 pound turkey, skin on, about 4 pounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

Lay the turkey breast skin side down between two large layers of plastic wrap.  With a meat tenderizer, pound the breast until it is an even thickness and 1/2-inch thick.  Discard the plastic.  Season the breast with salt and pepper.  Place the stuffing in a row in the middle of the pounded turkey breast short side to short side.  Roll one side of the turkey up and over the stuffing, tucking everything in as neatly and tightly as you can.  Roll the other side to make a log with the stuffing in the center.  Use tooth picks to hold the final edge in place while you tie it with butcher’s string every 1 to 2 inches.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Heat a large, oven proof skillet over medium high heat and add the canola oil.  Carefully place the roll into the pan.  Brown for 10 minutes on all sides, turning as needed.  Transfer skillet to oven and cook for 45 minutes or until an internal thermometer reads 155 in the center of the roll.  Let rest 5 minutes and slice in 1/2 inch slices.

Serves 6 to 8

E was able to follow the recipe without a picture, by practicing with a piece of paper first.  It’s actually harder to write than it is to do.

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The Maine Ingredient – latest column

The most recent column in the Portland Press Herald is up online and it's basically Cooking Turkey 101.  Turkey dinner was a staple meal for years while Jon and I crewed in the windjammer fleet.  Consequently, we don't ever have turkey on the Riggin because Capt. Jon just can't handle turkey more than once a year.  And for me, the stress that seems to float around like dust, clinging to even the calmest of people at Thanksgiving time, is bewildering.   In the column, I go over a few simple basics to successful poultry roasting.  Take a deep breath and await your succulent meal.  It's worth it!

No body panic, it's easy

© 2008 Anne Mahle