Let’s Talk Turkey
Chef (and/or owner): Owner/Chef Brandt Evans
Restaurant or Company:
Pura Vida, Public Square
Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern, Twinsburg
Classic Roasted Turkey
1 whole turkey, approx. 15 lbs.
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 to 2 carrots
1 bunch of parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Several sprigs fresh rosemary, sage and/or thyme
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
1. Defrost the turkey several days ahead of time.* Defrost it in the refrigerator so that the turkey stays chilled during this process.
Put wrapped frozen turkey in a pan to prevent leaks, then place in refrigerator. It will take about five hours of defrosting time for every pound of meat (15 lbs. turkey = three days to defrost).
*To defrost more quickly, place in large tub of cool water. Change water often to keep cold until turkey is defrosted.
2. Remove turkey from refrigerator two to five hours (depending on size) before roasting,
allowing it to come to room temperature. (It will cook quicker and more evenly that way.)
3. Remove turkey from package when ready to cook. Turkeys typically come packaged with neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver) in the main cavity or neck opening (check both).
Pull giblets out. They are often wrapped in a small paper package. You can chop up the heart and gizzard to make stock for the stuffing or dressing. (Put chopped heart and gizzard into small saucepan, cover with water, add salt, bring to simmer for one hour.)
You can cook the neck alongside the turkey or use it to make turkey stock. You can also use the giblets for gravy.
4. Rinse the turkey inside and out, plucking any stray feathers. Use paper towels to pat dry.
Note: Many turkeys come with a plastic tie holding the drumsticks together. Check the instructions on the package; you probably won’t need to remove the tie unless cooking turkey at a very high temperature.
5. Mix cold water and salt in a large bucket or noncorrosive stockpot; stir until salt is dissolved. Add turkey. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
6. Heat oven to 325°F. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Thoroughly rinse turkey under cool running water, gently rubbing outside and inside to release salt. Pat skin and both interior cavities dry with paper towels.
7. Fasten neck skin to back of turkey with skewer. Fold wings across back of turkey so tips are touching. Toss onion, carrot, celery tops and fresh herbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter; place in turkey cavity.
8. Place turkey breast side down on rack in large, shallow roasting pan. Brush entire back side of turkey with 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter. Turn turkey over. Brush entire breast side of turkey with remaining olive oil or butter.
Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of inside thigh and does not touch bone. (Do not add water or cover turkey.)
9. Roast uncovered 3 ½ to 4 hours, brushing twice with pan drippings during last 30 minutes.
10. Turkey is done when thermometer reads 165°F and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. If not using a meat thermometer, begin testing for doneness after about 3 hours.
When turkey is done, place on warm platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let stand about 15 minutes for easiest carving.
Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
2 pounds leftover turkey (breast or leg)
4 cups chicken stock
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
3 black peppercorns
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ pound turnips or parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white and pale green parts sliced thinly
1 large shallot, finely sliced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh sage chiffonade
Premade pie dough for crust
1. Butter a 4-quart baking dish.
2. Place turkey breast in medium saucepan; cover with stock. Add parsley, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns. Bring stock to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer until turkey is just cooked through (about 20 minutes).
3. Transfer turkey to a plate; remove herbs and peppercorns with slotted spoon. When turkey is cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces and transfer to buttered baking dish.
4. Add carrots and turnips to broth; cook until just tender (about 10 minutes). Transfer carrots, turnips and thawed peas to buttered baking dish. Strain broth into bowl.
5. Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks and shallots; cook until soft. Add flour; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and white wine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly reduced. Add cream; cook until sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon. Season with salt and pepper, then add parsley and sage. Pour sauce over turkey and vegetables in baking dish.
6. Place pie dough on top of ramekins; cook 10 minutes, or until golden brown.