Cooking a Natural Turkey

 Reprinted from D & C V 1, I 3; Brandi Monson author.

Just in time for the holidays, here are some suggestions for cooking your naturally raised, home grown or farm purchased turkey.

(The following has been adapted from a OCW publication.)

Most store-bought turkeys are injected with vegetable oil, water, salt, emulsifiers, sodium phosphate, annatto, and artificial flavoring as a baste. “Natural “ purchased turkeys  or the home grown variety do not have this undesirable baste added. You may want to consider preparing your natural turkey in brine. Brine is a salt water and seasoned solution that allows moisture to penetrate the meat. Even a slightly over cooked turkey will still be moist and juicy when prepared in a brine.

Basic Brine Recipe:

1 cup sugar, 1 cup salt, 1 bunch fresh sage, 1 bunch fresh thyme, 3 Tbsp cracked black pepper, 1 gallon water. Bring all ingredients to a boil; remove from heat and refrigerate. Place thawed turkey in a deep roasting pan that is large enough to allow most of the turkey to be submerged in the bring. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Turn the turkey in the brine every few hours if it is not fully submerged. Keep turkey in brine for 24 to 36 hours.

Or try a Herbed Butter to add flavor and moisture to your turkey.

Herbed Butter Recipe: 8 Tbsp softened butter, 1/4 cup EVOO, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp chopped shallots, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 Tbsp chopped chives, 1 Tbsp chopped sage, 1 Tbsp chopped thyme, 1 tsp chopped tarragon. Blend well and refrigerate. This can be placed under the skin of the turkey by slicing small slits in the skin and sliding some of the firm butter mixture underneath. Pulling the skin back together. Or you can use as a basting  glaze while baking. Enjoy!                                   


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