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Thanksgiving Turkey

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Ingredients

Turkey

18 pound heritage turkey

2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 cup dry red wine

1 bay leaf

8 whole black peppercorns

6 parsley stems

2 gallons water

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Brine for Turkey Breast

1 gallon water

1 cup kosher salt

½ cinnamon stick

1 orange, peeled and zested

1 cup apple cider

Deboned turkey breast

Cure for Turkey Legs

2 cups kosher salt

2 cups sugar

1 bay leaf, crushed

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 turkey legs

Braising Liquid for Turkey Legs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 gallon turkey stock (remaining from recipe above)

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 5 whole black peppercorns, 5 parsley stems)

Gravy

5 tablespoons butter, unsalted, divided

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled

½ cup dry white wine

1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 5 whole black peppercorns, 5 parsley stems)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Turkey stock (remaining from recipe above), about 4-6 cups

1 sprig fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Turkey Stock

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse the turkey and fabricate it, removing the legs and deboning the breast and cavity. Remove giblets and neck and reserve.
  3. Break the turkey bones in half and put on roasting pan. Drizzle bones with olive oil as needed. Add giblets and turkey neck to the pan. Add mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) and roast in the oven, turning as needed, for 1 hour or until a deep brown color. Remove from oven and let cool. Deglaze the pan with red wine, scrapping the roasted brown bits off the bottom of the tray with a wooden spoon.
  4. In a large stock pot, add roasted turkey bones, roasted mirepoix, garlic and bouquet garni (bay leaf, whole peppercorns and parsley stems). Add two gallons of cold water and bring stock to a low simmer (do not boil) over medium heat. Skim off any debris and fat that rises to the top as the stock simmers. Simmer for at least 2 hours.
  5. Remove stock pot from the heat and strain. Store in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to six months.
    Yield / About 1½ gallons

Brine for Turkey Breast

  1. In a stockpot, add 1 gallon of water, salt, ½ cinnamon stick, zested orange peel and apple cider. Bring to a low boil to dissolve salt and immediately remove from heat to cool.
  2. When the brine is cold, add the deboned turkey breast to the liquid, making sure it’s completely submerged, cover with the lid and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

Roasting Turkey Breast

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Remove the turkey breast from the brining liquid and dry it completely. Cover with olive oil (under the skin too), salt and pepper.
  3. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, sear the turkey breast skin side down until the skin reaches a golden brown color.
  4. Truss the breast, place in a roasting pan and roast in the oven until it is cooked through or reaches an internal temperature of 142 – 145 degrees. It won’t take long since it is deboned. The carry-over cooking when you remove the turkey from the oven will bring the turkey to the proper temperature and you will avoid overcooking and drying out the breast.
  5. Let the breast rest for at least 10 minutes and served sliced with the gravy on the side.

Cure for Turkey Legs

  1. Mix the salt, sugar, crushed bay leaf and thyme together in a bowl. Add the turkey legs, making sure they’re covered with the cure seasoning. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  2. Removed the legs from the cure, rinse and pat them dry.
  3. In a braising pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Sear the turkey legs until browned on all sides.
  4. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  5. Add bouquet garni and the reserved turkey stock to the braising pan, making sure the legs are completely covered by the liquid.
  6. Bring the braising liquid to a low simmer and continue to skim the debris that arises off the top. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 4-6 hours, adding more stock as needed, until legs are cooked and the meat is tender (easily falling off the bone). Serve with the sliced breast meat and the gravy on the side.

Gravy

  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of butter and the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Deglaze with white wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated.
  2. Add bouquet garni and the reserved turkey stock and bring to a low simmer. Allow stock to reduce and fortify in flavor while continuing to skim any debris off the top to make a clear liquid.
  3. Strain the reduction and reserve the liquid.
  4. In a new saucepan over medium-low heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and melt. Add the flour to make the roux and cook until it becomes brown and has a nutty fragrance. Add the reduced stock liquid and the fresh thyme sprig and stir until the mixture is combined. Cook until the gravy becomes the desired thickness and viscosity (it should evenly coat the back of a spoon). Remove the thyme sprig and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm with the turkey breast and legs.
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