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PERSONAL CHEF

PERSONAL CHEF
FOOD FOR REAL PEOPLE

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

MENTALLY PREP YOUR MIND AS THANKSGIVING IS CLOSING IN

All us cooks need a refresher course on cooking especially if we do not put into practice a certain method or technique constantly. Okay, honestly I do not roast a lot of turkey, maybe during Thanksgiving at a friends' house. Everyone has his or her own method or theory, and all of them may work well for them. Here are some tips from some very good home cooks.

1. Know how many people you will feed, take about 6 oz. per serving and extras in case more people show up. Here's how to calculate this. Let's say you have about 15 people showing up, and there will be more than turkey being served. And in Hawaii believe me, you invite other friends, more friends will show up, sometimes with more entrees from ham, beef, appetizers, desserts you name it, so just go with 6 oz. for 15 for now. So you'll multiply 15 times 6 oz. and you'll get 90 oz. Now divide that by 16 oz. because there are 16 oz. to a pound and this is what we get- 5.6 lbs. of bird. Now that's a small bird, and I don't think you'll find one that small. So find one about double that size, 10 to 12 pounders will do.

2. You will buy this more than likely frozen, so make sure you take about 2 days to thaw it out in a cooler lined with ice. And before you roast it, keep it a room temperature for about 30 minutes, a very cold turkey will not cook well.

3. Make your stuffing on the stovetop this will prevent food poisoning, though some chefs will stuff a bird. I'll show you another method to make stuffing with the drippings from the bird.

4. Season the bird inside and outside and under the skin with kosher salt, and pepper, and garlic cloves, and rub real unsalted butter all over and under the skin.

5. Place the bird in a deep roasting pan (stainless steel). Set the oven to 300 degrees F, if you got a convection maybe a few degrees less.

6. To cook the turkey just right, I have found that you'll use the 18 pounds per hour method, but only as a guide for every oven operates differently, and what you want is to have a juicy tender on the inside turkey. The inside temperature should be about 160 deg. F. So if you watch it roasting, once the juices start to come out of the bird and into the pan, it is cooking. Remove the bird when you see that the inside temperature is about 150 deg F. Once you remove it from the oven and let it sit outside, it will continue to cook. You will notice lots of juice from the pan. As you roast, it is sometimes a good idea to have a siphon handy and start to remove some of the juice into a saucepan and reserve it for the gravy and the stuffing. Use an instant read thermometer and stick it into the large portion of the thigh and the deep of the breast.

7. Save the juices and the bits of meat in the roasting pan, remove the juices. Put some flour into the pan, and place on the stovetop, and over medium heat, cook the flour with a little oil or fat, brown it. Then add in some water and the juice from the turkey and make your gravy. Add more liquid to make it thinner, use a whisk for this.

8. To make your stuffing, get a loaf of bread, and cut them up into pieces, get some onions, and celery and chop it up small. In a large braising pan that is about 4 inches deep, and some oil, and cook the bread and veggies, slowly add some turkey dripping for flavor, and cook it until it is steamy soft, season with salt and pepper. You can add other stuff to the stuffing too, like sausages and other types of meat.

Good Luck as Thanksgiving is a few months away, this is just a brain primer for you.
This is a good looking finished turkey from Mc Cormick ®

So again, you have a few months before that big day of gobble gobble, football games, friends and family, kids runnin around and lots of blessed foods.

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