Turkey Talk

Posted by Brette in Food

As I posted earlier, this year I made Martha’s dry brined turkey. In the past I’ve done a wet brine and been very happy with it. I took the plunge though and put my turkey in Martha’s hands.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

The dry brine meant I coated the turkey with a mix of salt and bay leaves and left it in the fridge for 48 hours. Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Turkey came out and we first rinsed it well inside and out. I was a little paranoid about so much salt, so I really wanted to give it a good rinse. Martha says to pat the turkey dry and then rub it with half a stick of butter. I’ve never rubbed a turkey with butter, but if Martha says so I will obey. I also sprinkled some poultry seasoning and salt and pepper on it.

I stuffed the big cavity with regular stuffing. I admit I did not do a Martha stuffing since my kids would mutiny. Here’s how I make stuffing. All year long I keep a bag in the freezer and throw stale bread and the ends of loaves into. Come Thanksgiving, I have a nice variety of different breads and plenty to make stuffing with. I cook up onions and celery and add that with poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sage, salt and pepper to the stuffing. Then I get it wet with broth and water. Pretty easy.

The small cavity was stuffed with a new family tradition – cornbread stuffing. We tried this last year and it was a hit and everyone wanted it again. I make cornbread and treat it like I do the regular bread stuffing.

Once the turkey was stuffed, Martha says to tuck the wings underneath it. It took a while to figure out how to do this. What she really means it to take the tips of the wings – that third, skinny part – and bend it backwards and then stick it under the front of the turkey (the neck end). Next, I tied the legs together as directed by Martha. Into the oven it went. Martha says to baste it every half hour with a butter and white wine mixture. I just used butter (we’re not big on wine).

Martha says to start the oven at 425 then turn it down to 350 after half an hour. I did as directed.

Here’s where things got a little kooky. My turkey was 19 lbs and every chart I consulted said it should take 4 1/2 to 5 hours stuffed to cook. Ha! This bird was done in 3 1/2 hours! I was not prepared at all! I turned the oven down to warm and raced around peeling potatoes and cooking veggies.

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

I let it rest outside the oven for about half an hour before Mr. MarthaAndMe carved. What a beautiful bird this recipe produced! It was a gorgeous bronze color, just like the one of the cover of the November issue of Living. I’ve never seen a turkey so brown and perfect.

This was hands down the most delicious turkey I have ever made. It tasted simply incredible. Moist, flavorful, silky – to die for. I did use a different kind of turkey this year – organic, free range when in the past I’ve only used organic, so that may be part of it. But I believe the dry brine definitely made this turkey moist and tasty. Slathering it with

Ready to carve

Ready to carve

butter probably helped too.

What else did we have? Mashed potatoes, gravy (pan drippings mixed with turkey broth that I mix Wondra into), and roasted root vegetables (carrot, parsnip and rutabaga with olive oil and balsamic vinegar). Pumpkin pie for dessert (that’ll be tomorrow’s post, so tune in to find out how Martha’s pie went).

We had a great Thanksgiving. We watched the parade and the dog show. After dinner we played some games and then watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving show. It was a terrific, relaxing day. We have lots of leftovers – Oh! I can’t wait to have that turkey sandwich at lunch! I’m also planning to try out some of Martha’s leftover ideas from November Living.

I will definitely make this dry brined turkey again next year. It is much easier to make than the wet brine and the results were simply incredible!

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