29 November 2006

roasting a bird

Off soon to Ellies to begin the preparations for Turkey #3, served to my home group, the 710WEA'ers. I picked up the 19.89lb turkey at the Union Square Farmers market this morning from Di Paola Turkeys, Inc. I've chopped my celery and onions for the stuffing, as well as preparing a mirepoix for stock for the gravy. I'm going to use the technique detailed here for the roasting, as the breast meat of the turkey I cooked at my sisters place was a bit dry.

Gothamist: What's Fresh - Turkey, Part 2 (Preparation)

Ways to get a juicy breast and a rich, succulent thigh:
Essentially the main issue at play here to achieve success is that a breast of turkey tastes best cooked to just over 160 degrees for optimal moistness and dark meat needs to be at just over 170 to get
have a chance at perfect texture.

If you start to think like a baker you can find ways to cool down the breast in hopes of allowing the increasing temperature of dark quarters to pull ahead and give you the approximate 10 degree spread you need at the end of cooking.

Rotation – it does not matter if it is pizza that gets a rotation away from the hot spot or a fully rotational commercial baking oven, placement can affect what parts of an item cook fastest. Since you want a bird that is brown all around you would want to rotate anyway, but if
you set the rotation times to shield the breast, you can save a few degrees for the white meat. Roast the first 40% of the time breast side down, then 15% of the time each side with the leg up, finishing with 30% with the breast up.
The stuffing recipe that I use is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, the one your Mom has on her shelf with the red and white checkered cover? You betcha. It's basically ripped up bits of stale bread, with onion, celery, butter and sage, salt and pepper.

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