Wednesday, November 22, 2006

drunken turkey

I know -- this is way too late to be much help for tomorrow, but here it is anyway: the recipe I use for our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys. I've tried a lot of things over the years, but since this recipe appeared in the November 2001 edition of Food & Wine, I've never tried any other recipes. We've come to know it as Drunken Turkey.

You can find the original recipe here. I will give you my version.

1 turkey (ours is fourteen pounds this year)
2 cups of bourbon
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of maple syrup
salt and pepper
1 stick of butter, softened
citrus fruit, onions, and apples

3/4 c flour
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of pecans
In a bowl, mix the bourbon, OJ, syrup and spices together.

Take your fingers and work them under the turkey skin to separate it from the breast and thighs. Take your time and don't tear the skin if you can help it. Put a large oven bag in a bowl and set the turkey in it with the cavity side up. Pour the bourbon mixture between the skin and the bird and then seal the bag up tight. Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, take the bird out of the bag and place it in a roasting pan. Save the marinade. Take about half of the butter and rub it on the bird underneath the skin; rub the other half on the outside of the skin. Stuff the cavity of the bird with sliced citrus, apples, and onions and then tie the legs together and pour half of the reserved marinade over the top of the turkey. Put in a preheated 325 oven and roast for thrity minutes. Baste the bird with the pan juices and add a couple of cups of water to the pan. Cook for another hour, basting every thirty minutes. Cover loosely with foil and cook for another hour or two, depending on the size of the turkey.

When you move the turkey to the carving platter, make sure to drain the pan juices to make an incredible gravy. Cover the bird loosely with foil to keep it warm. Put the pan juices in a small containter and put it in the freezer for a few minutes. The fat will begin to congeal on the top and you can remove it easily. Take about six tablespoons of the fat and melt it in a saucepan. Once it is hot, add the flour to make a roux. Warm the chicken broth and add it to the roux, whisking constantly to make the broth thicken. Add the pan juices and pecans and simmer for about fifteen minutes to really let the flavors mix. Season with salt and pepper.

You can find the rest of my writing for today here.