3 Ways To Cook Turkey This Holiday Season
The Tradition of Turkey
Turkey dinner is a steadfast tradition for many of us during the holidays. From the benefits of brining to thinking twice about basting, here are three foolproof ways to cook your turkey as part of a festive feast.
Boneless Breast is Best
Leftover turkey isn’t for everyone, so why make more than necessary? Instead of cooking a full turkey, stick to the breast of the bird. The cooking time is shorter and there’s a lot less work involved. Each breast serves one to two people depending on the breast size, so this is a great option for a thrifty dinner.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease a pan with butter or oil. Lay out some oven-safe butcher’s twine, and place the breasts on the twine and use your favorite stuffing in the center. Carefully wrap the turkey breasts around the stuffing and use the twine to keep it all in place. Once you’ve got it all wrapped up, place the “roast” in the pan and put it in the oven, covered, for about 3 hours, or until fully cooked.
Bacon and Butter, What Can Be Better?
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Stuff the turkey with an apple and a couple of small onions. This creates a sweetness that, in turn, brings out the savory flavour of the meat. Rub some rosemary butter onto the outside of the turkey, then cover the whole thing in bacon. Before covering the turkey with foil, add some white wine and broth to the roasting pan and put the turkey in the oven for about three to four hours.
When there’s about an hour left, take the bird out of the oven, remove the bacon that’s left and put it back in, uncovered, to crisp up the skin and achieve that perfect golden color.
Brine Baby, Brine
Brining a turkey is an excellent way to ensure that your bird comes out tender and juicy. This takes some extra time but the result is worth the work and the wait.
Avoid a pre-salted turkey, brining a fresh turkey is the best way to go. Submerging your bird in the brining solution does a number of things to the meat. First, the turkey takes on the flavor of the salt, seasoning it perfectly. and tSecondly, the brining time allows the turkey to absorb some of the moisture from the water, keeping it nice and juicy. Brining takes between 12 and 24 hours for the best results.
Brine your turkey in a cup of salt and 4 quarts of water. Heat up the first quart of water to lukewarm and dissolve the salt. Place your turkey in a container and pour the solution over it. Add in the rest of the water and put the whole thing in the fridge. Once the process is complete, remove the turkey, run it under water and pat dry. Cook your turkey as you normally would.
Slide into Sides
What’s turkey dinner without the side dishes? Instead of mashed potatoes, why not try smashed potatoes instead. Take your boiled potatoes, let them cool, smash then fry them. Top it all off with a little sour cream, chives and a smokey hot sauce. Brussels sprouts are a great side dish as well, especially when baked in the oven with chorizo. 17 minutes on 400 F and they come out piping hot and ready to serve.
Tips & Tricks
Never baste your turkey. Taking the turkey out of the oven messes with the oven temperature and the liquid evaporates off the bird, leaving the skin dry and rubbery.
A fully cooked turkey should have an internal temperature of 165 F. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s fully cooked.
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