Roasted Turkey

Festive celebration roasted turkey for Thanksgiving

330px-Squantoteaching.pngAmerica owes it’s tradition of the Thanksgiving feast to a man named Tisquantum (c. 1585?- 1622), more commonly known as Squanto. He was a member of the Patuxet tribe and is best known for being an early liaison between the native populations in Southern New England and the Mayflower Pilgrims. As a child, Squanto was been kidnapped by an English sea captain named Thomas Hunt and was sold into slavery in the city of Málaga, Spain. Squanto was among a number of captives bought by local monks who focused on their education and evangelization, and as a result, he learned to speak Spanish, French and English.

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Málaga in 1572, forty years before Squanto was delivered there in slavery.

Squanto eventually traveled to England and from there returned to North America in 1619, only to find that his village and tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic infection, making Squanto the last of the Patuxet.

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When the Mayflower landed in 1620, Squanto was one of the first Native Americans the members of the Plymouth colony encountered. As a diplomat, he worked to broker peaceable relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. He played a key role in the early meetings in March 1621, partly because he spoke English. He then lived with the Pilgrims for two years, acting as a translator, guide, and advisor. During this time, he also saved the colony from starvation by teaching the settlers how to sow, plant and fertilize native crops—including corn and squash, which proved vital since the seeds which the Pilgrims had brought from England largely failed. He also taught the settlers how to fish and how to tap maple trees for their sweet sap.

Because of Squanto’s central role in the survival of the Plymouth colony, a feast was held to commemorate the event. It was referred to at the time as “The Harvest Celebration of 1621” and is considered to be the first Thanksgiving that took place in the colony. From historical journals, the menu at the first Thanksgiving celebration between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag consisted of wild game that included venison, goose, duck, pigeon, and turkey, seafood such as mussels, clams, oysters, lobsters, bass, and eels. A combination of wild and cultivated crops including chestnuts, walnuts, squash, beans, and dishes made from dried corn was also been served.

Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients:

For the Brine:
One 12 to 14-pound turkey
2 ½ cups kosher salt, plus more if needed
1 cup white sugar
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked, more as needed
3 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage

For the Turkey:
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
½ lemon
1 stick of unsalted butter, sliced for basting

For the Gravy:
1 cup defatted pan juices from the roasted turkey
1 cup chicken stock

Directions:

Remove the turkey from the packaging and rinse under cold water.

Place the turkey on a rack in its roasting pan and prepare the brine.

For the brine, combine the salt, sugar, bay leaves, pepper rosemary, thyme, sage marjoram with 2 1/2 gallons water in a large 4 to 6 gallon container or cooler large enough to hold turkey comfortably. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Place the turkey in brining solution and refrigerate or ice overnight.

The following day, prepare to cook the turkey.

Pre heat oven to 425 º F.

Remove the turkey from brining solution; drain well and pat very dry with clean paper towels. Discard brine. Set the turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set into a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, then fill the cavity with onion, celery, carrots and lemon. Fold wings under the bird. Truss the turkey up by the legs using kitchen twine. Roast the turkey for 35 minutes, basting with butter every 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 o F and roast approximately 3 hours more, basting bird every 30 minutes with drippings and butter. If the breast of the turkey is browning to quickly , tent the bird with aluminum foil , until and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165 o F.

Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Pour the pan drippings into a large Pyrex measuring cup and allow to it stand to allow the fat to rise to top.

Meanwhile, make a gravy from the pan drippings.

Discarding any solid vegetables used in roasting the main meat dish, pour the pan juices into a glass measuring cup and let stand for 10 minutes. Skim off any fat that forms on the surface. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and pour in the fat/grease free pan juices, then the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour into a gravy boat.

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Florentine Butter Chicken

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Photo Credit: Greg DuPree, Food & Wine Magazine, 2019.
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This recipe is inspired by Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis’ trip to 150-year-old Trattoria Sostanza in Florence. The chicken is cooked in a combination of cultured butter and olive oil. Cultured butter has a higher butterfat content, with a slight tang from those cultures. The butterfat gives cultured butter a slightly higher smoke point and, when combined with olive oil, gives enough cooking time to finish the chicken and the sauce simultaneously. If the butter is darkening too quickly, remove it from the heat and continue to baste with the hot butter.

 

And I have to add, this recipe made for the most spoon tender and moist chicken breast that you will ever encounter.It’s like having a taste of Tuscany in your own kitchen in 30 minutes or less.

Recipe by
Hunter Lewis, Editor in Chief
Food & Wine Magazine
September 2019

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Two 7-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) cold salted cultured butter (such as Vermont Creamery), cut into pieces, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Lemon slices, for garnish
Sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Place beaten egg in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Spread flour in a separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working with 1 breast at a time, dip chicken in egg, letting any excess drip back into bowl, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Melt 1/4 cup butter with oil in a 10-inch stainless steel skillet over medium-high, and cook, swirling occasionally, until milk solids begin to sink to bottom of skillet and start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chicken, rounded sides down, and cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn chicken over, and add remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Tilt skillet toward you so butter pools, and cook, basting chicken often, until chicken is just cooked through and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and carefully pour in lemon juice. Note: the butter will start to bubble and brown.

Using a spatula place the chicken breast in the middle of the plate and garnish with lemon slices and parsley.Serve immediately.

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Bourbon Brined Fried Chicken

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Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the Brine:
One 3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 cups steaming hot water
2 cups ice water
2/3 cup bourbon

For Frying:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Dash of hot sauce
9 cups peanut oil, for frying

Special Equipment:

6 1/2- quart  Round Deep Dutch Oven

 

Directions:

Break chicken down into 10 pieces by removing thighs, drumsticks, whole wings, and bone-in breasts; cut each of the two breasts in half

To a large saucepan, add water, salt, honey, brown sugar ,cinnamon stick and bay leaves and stir until the salt dissolves. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the ice water and bourbon and allow to cool completely. Put chicken pieces into a resealable  gallon freezer bag and pour the brine over the chicken. Seal the bag, set in a large bowl, and chill at least 4 hours, but preferably overnigh, for best results.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cornstarch, salt and spices. Set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce, then set aside. Remove chicken pieces from the brine and pat dry. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture and allow excess to drip off. Finally, dredge completely in the flour again, and set on a rack over a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining pieces and let stand to allow a crust to form over the chicken while the oil heats.

Preheat oven to 250º F.

Add oil to a 6 1/2-quart deep Dutch oven and heat to a temperature of 350º F.

Carefully add 5 pieces of chicken to the oil and hold temperature around 320 ºF while frying, gently turning chicken once. Fry for 12 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 º F in the thickest piece. Remove chicken to a rack set over a sheet tray, and hold in the oven while the next batch cooks. To prevent the chicken from buring on the outside  before it cooks through, remove it from the oil and place it  on a baking sheet and place it in the oven where it can finish cooking; check temperature before serving. Repeat frying process with remaining pieces, and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.