New Delhi, Nov 27 The American holiday promotes the idea of being grateful and something Indians love feasting. Chef Mariko Amekodommo, International Culinary Expert from LA, California shares recipes to roast turkey, fresh baked pies and spiced apple cider filling the air.
When cooking a turkey, there are always many things to consider such as the size of the turkey for the number of guests, will it fit in my oven and will I actually cook it long enough or too long. While I can’t answer those questions, I can share my favorite marinades for cooking a turkey at home like a pro.
Brine preparation for turkey continues to grow in popularity each year, and once you taste it you will definitely know why. The process is simple, get a HUGE container big enough to fit the turkey and enough water to cover it, along with plenty of salt and spices.
When brining, the turkey absorbs extra moisture to help it stay extra juicy. Since it absorbs the salt and spices as well, the turkey meat gets extra seasoned deep inside the meat, not just the surface. The brine solution also breaks down some of the proteins in the turkey, making it more tender.
For the best results from brining, begin the process at least 48 hours before you plan to cook the bird. Before cooking, remove from brine and drain on a large towel. Drying the turkey before cooking assures for a crispy and evenly brown skin. Brined turkey cooks faster, so check often to make sure you don’t overcook.
Here’s the go-to recipe for the brine. Feel free to add extra herbs and spices such as chili, depending on your tastes.
Classic Turkey Brine Recipe (for a small 6-8kg turkey)
1 cup salt
1/2 brown sugar or jaggery
4L vegetable stock, warm
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 orange, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch sage leaves
Combine all of the ingredients (except the extra 4L water) in a large pot and heat until the salt is dissolved. Allow to cool completely. Place turkey in large stock pot or bucket with the cavity facing up. Pour the cool brine into the bucket, and add remaining 4L water just until the turkey is completely submerged. Place bucket into refrigerator for 48-72 hours until it’s ready to cook.
Fresh Herb Butter
Herb butter is my 2nd favorite turkey preparation when I don’t have time to brine. It’s essentially a full flavored fresh herb butter that is inserted underneath the skin so it’s absorbed into the meat when cooking. The result is extra rich and flavorful meat and creates a fantastic gravy. This preparation doesn’t need to be made ahead of time and you can follow your regular cooking times.
Fresh Herb Butter Recipe (for a small 6-8kg turkey)
1kg butter, softened (salted or unsalted. If you use unsalted, add 1 tablespoon salt)
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch sage
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
20 cloves garlic
Add all ingredients to a food processor or large mixer grinder and blend until well combined. Prepare your turkey in a large roasting pan. Using a sharp knife, make slits in the skin of the turkey and use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat. With a spoon, take the herb butter and start placing inside the slits and use your fingers to spread it around from the top. At this point, you’ll almost be massaging the turkey with butter so that it is spread evening. Continue the process until the herb butter is finished and the entire turkey has a layer of butter between the skin and meat. Now it’s ready to cook following your preferred time and temperature.
Lastly, if you want great flavor and don’t have time to brine and fresh herb butter is too labor intensive, then I recommend a simple dry rub. It’s ready in minutes, has great flavor and easy to customize with your favorite spices. And I always believe that a turkey can never be too flavorful, so feel free to use the dry rub with brine or herb butter preparations.
Dry Rub Recipe (for a small 6-8kg turkey)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Hint: If you don’t have the dried herbs, replace with 5 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Generously brush turkey with olive oil, then rub in the seasoning mixture. Cook following your preferred time and temperature.
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