Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Upside Down Turkey Recipe

Photo courtesy of The Food Network. Digging this Alton Brown photo cuz it's real mad scientist.
Several years ago, I did an article for the Richmond Times Dispatch featuring an old family recipe for Thanksgiving turkey with sausage dressing (sorry, I am unable to link to the article since they are currently revamping the site), but this was no average Thanksgiving recipe. Sure, it was a regular old bird stuffed with regular old sausage dressing, but what was unique about it was that the turkey was roasted upside down towards the end of the cooking time. It's a brilliant trick that my granny perfect years ago to offset a fully cooked turkey with dry breast meat. Instead of just cooking the bird upright until it's done, during those last 45 minutes or so she gave it a flip to reveal an upside down turkey. From there, she continued roasting the bird until it was fully cooked which allowed all of those precious dark meat, fatty goodness juices to infiltrate the breast meat making it moist it flavorful.

I've pasted this turkey recipe below along with a recipe for cornbread sausage dressing, which while not reinventing the wheel, is certainly a crowd-pleaser. You should note that granny never stuffed her bird with "stuffing" (hence, why we call it dressing), but rather baked the dressing separately so it would get that addictive crispy, crunchy texture. Sometimes she would bake the dressing in individual muffin tins (stuffin' muffins I suppose?) which was always my favorite as a kid since it not only resembled a cupcake, but it was crispity crunchity all the way around with a dense, soft, bready center. Douse that sucker in some white turkey gravy or sausage gravy (we never did brown turkey gravy, always milk-based) and prepare to swoon.

So, here are two Thanksgiving recipes to consider if you're stuck on what to do with that bird, and don't be afraid to try your turkey upside down-style. Just be sure to get an extra hand or two to help you flip it!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Upside Down Turkey and Sausage Dressing

Feeds 20-22 people

An unstuffed 20 pound bird will take around 5 hours. For a smaller 10 -12 pound unstuffed bird, simply cut this recipe in half and alter your overall cooking time from 5 total hours to about 2 1/2 hours. Internal temperatures should read: 175 F at the thickest portion of the leg; 165 F in the breast; 160 F in the center of the stuffing.

18-20 pound turkey, either frozen or fresh
3/4 stick butter, softened and cut into small pieces
2 onions, quartered, (optional)
4 sticks celery, cut into fourths, (optional)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Special tools: roasting pan, baster, tin foil

After your turkey has fully defrosted, if frozen, remove the giblet bag and save for gravy or discard. Pat turkey dry and season well with salt and pepper. Rub turkey with butter and push pieces of butter up under the skin. Fill turkey cavity with the dressing with you like (see recipe below) or quartered onions and celery if cooking dressing separately.

Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Lower heat to 325 degrees. Pour chicken broth in bottom of roasting pan and place a piece of aluminum foil loosely around your turkey in a “tent” fashion to keep wings from burning.

Baste your turkey every hour during the cooking process. During the last 45 minutes of cooking, remove the foil tent and flip your turkey upside down. For a twenty pound turkey, you should plan on roasting it for about 5 hours total (including the first 30 minutes as well as the 45 minutes upside down) or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh away from the bone reads 165 degrees in the breast portion (175 degrees in the leg) and the juices of your bird run clear.When your turkey is done, flip it back to breast side up and let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. Save pan juices for gravy.

Granny’s Cornbread and Sausage Dressing

Serves 10

If you're making a 20 pound turkey, I recommend doubling this recipe because you can never have enough dressing!

1 tablespoon shortening
1 pound spicy sausage (or mild sage sausage)
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 (15 ounce) low sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed for consistency
1 stick butter
1 (1 pound) bag cornbread stuffing mix
1 (1 pound bag) cubed herb stuffing mix
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt shortening in a large sauté pan. Add sausage and break into pieces, frying well on medium-high until nice and crisp. Remove sausage to a bowl, setting aside two tablespoons of the leftover sausage grease.

Wipe out your pan and preheat to medium-high. Add reserved sausage grease and sauté celery and onion until translucent. Add chicken broth and butter and simmer for 3 minutes on medium-low.

In a large bowl, combine sausage with stuffing mixes and nuts. Add chicken broth to stuffing mixture a cup at a time, and mix lightly with a fork until dressing holds together.  Your dressing should be moist, but not wet, so use less chicken broth if necessary to achieve this consistency.

Pour dressing into a lightly greased 9 x 12 casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and crusty on the outside. Note: If cooking your dressing in muffin tins, reduce cooking time by about 8 minutes.

©2012 Fatback and Foie Gras. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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Friday, November 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Ginger Ale Baked Apples Recipe

 Check out the whole post next door at The Southern Slow Cooker blog.
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