Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How To Cook A Great Turkey

This was our Christmas turkey. The "before" picture is a post below (just a picture, no lyrical prose ...), because the "New Blogger" seems to not like the old Picasa, so posting these pics took almost as long as cooking the turkey.
... But I digress.
Here's how I cook a turkey. It involves copious amounts of wine, so you know it's got to be good.
Step One: The neck and gizzard go in a sauce pan with water, wine, and a bay leaf to simmer while the turkey roasts.
Step Two: I rub some extra virgin olive oil allover the the bird and then sprinkle salt, pepper, and a thick coating of basil. The oil helps to hold all these goodies in place.
Step Three: The bird goes in a 375 degree oven for a few hours depending on how big it is. This one was 18 lbs. and spent about 4 hours in the oven. I put it in uncovered first, and then about halfway through, cover it.
Step Four: Basting. This actually happens about every 30 minutes during the entire cooking process. I baste with wine, literally pouring it from the bottle into and onto the bird and also with the broth formed from the simmering neck and gizzard (NO LIVER!!!). Later, the basting is with the contents of the turkey pan rather than new material.
Step Five: When the bird is done, he gets lifted out to cool a bit before carving. Meanwhile the roasting pan with all those drippings goes on the stove (over two burners) and is brought to a boil . Once it's boiling, a bowl of broth with a few tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in it is stirred in to thicken those drippings into a rich, deep brown gravy.
That's all there is to it.
So easy, unlike posting pictures to the "new" blogger.
Gotta go, I feel a leftover turkey, turkey sandwich jones coming on.

15 comments:

kathy a said...

looks so gorgeous i can almost taste it! and i learned 2 things: it probably works better to roast uncovered first, then covered [instead of the backwards way i learned]; and basting with wine. since i'm from california, i'm required by law to ask -- what kind of wine?

threecollie said...

Your recipe is different, but it sure sounds good.And looks good too!
On the new Blogger/Picasa thing. I can't even post with the NEW Picasa!

Hurricane Teen said...

mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Once again, I am having one of those moments when I wish I could be one of FC's chirldren :-D.

Is the new Blogger really that much better than than the old one? I'm not sure whether I should "upgrade" or not.

roger said...

if you use the firefox browser you can upload pics directly from the blogger page where you enter text. no picasa req'd.

that is one fine looking turkey.

robin andrea said...

That sounds delicious, and I don't even like turkey! Yum. I think I'll send this recipe to my sister, who cooks a turkey a couple of times a year. She'll love it.

momadness said...

Whoa, baby! God bless us, everyone; that is one fine looking bird--vegetarian-minded as I am, I still enjoy a good holiday meal that includes such tasty-looking fare as that.

Floridacracker said...

Kathy A,
Don't laugh, but it was cheap Sutter Home Merlot. My mom uses sherry, but I tend to use whatever cheap wine we have around. Often it's a white zinfandel. We are not big wine drinkers, but we cook with it a lot, so there's always a bottle of some screwtop cheap vino on the counter.

ThreeCollie,
What's weird is the inconsistency of it all. It works, then it doesnt, ...

HTeen,
The ease of tweaking and the new things like labels and drop downs are suweeeet, but be prepared for photo posting headaches.

roger,
thanks, i haven't tried firefox yet, but maybe now is the time.

Robin,
Great! I hope she likes it. I'm just basically following what my Mom does, except she insists on sherry.

MoMadness,
It was moist all the way through (basting!!) and just so tender. I just wish turkeys had more wings. Love those wings!

SophieMae said...

Great looking bird! I was the only one in our house not sick the past couple weeks, so we had Chinee takee outee for Christmas dinner. I love a nice brined turkey. I've heard 'pre-salting' is a bit easier and just as good, so I might try that next time.

kathy a said...

i'm not laughing, just stunned -- shocked! -- that you use a red with turkey! but the result looks quite fine; merlot is an under-appreciated varietal; and what the heck, a much better choice than glazing the bird with sherry. plus, i'll earn about 3,800 spouse points if i use this recipe and also include the traditional [for us] garlic and rosemary.

Deb said...

Mmmmm...and we have a turkey in the freezer, bought when it was cheap, just waiting to be cooked. As for the wine, merlot, chardonnay, it's all the same in cooking. We have lately been partial to Charles Shaw aka Three Buck Chuck, available at Trader Joes everywhere.

Mrs.S said...

Excuse me, I can't think of anything intelligent to say, I'm too busy drooling. I've never cooked a turkey, but now I want to!!

pissed off patricia said...

Funny, I almost took a pic of our own turkey Christmas day. I believe they look similar as they were both 18 pounds. I've never basted with wine but it sure sounds like a good idea. I wait until the bird is about three quarters through the cooking process to tent it and prevent too much browning on the breast.

Floridacracker said...

SophieMae,
Of course, down here alot of turkey's get fried, but I'm still partial to the roast bird.

Kathy A,
I know, I know... I have no wine sense, but it tastes great :)

Deb,
Turkey is cheap, tastey protein and so good for ya'.
It's such a good way to stretch the family food dollar, we eat them fairly often, certainly not just during the holidays.

Mrs. S,
It's so easy and you can play with Zoe while it's roasting!

POP,
Turkeys (dead ones) are pretty forgiving, don't you think? There's a lot of leeway for different seasonings, times, methods, but they always seem to taste great.

Alan said...

Have you tried brining your bird before roasting? Sure makes for a juicy turkey. My cooking wine comes in a three liter jug with a cap on it. Come to think of it so does my drinking wine. An oenophile I am not though the next time I brine a bird I may well put a cup or three of white wine in the mix.

The big family get togethers someone usually fries a turkey or two, but that gets expensive if you're only going to do one bird.

.....Alan.

Floridacracker said...

Alan,
I haven't tried brining. I need to look into it.
Frying wings for New Years.