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The best turkey!

Nov 23, 2011 by

Thanksgiving Centerpiece – Turkey with Cranberry-Maple Glaze
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to express gratitude and enjoy time with family and friends. Food, delicious gluten-free, allergen-free food is…the icing on the cake. Here is my offering that I hope spreads more love on your day.

Cranberry Maple Glaze

This glaze gives roasted turkey a delicious sweet-tart flavor and rich color. Brush it on the turkey during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Glaze:
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange zest, maple syrup and orange juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.

2. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered or until the cranberries burst and sauce is very thick.

3. Puree the mixture in a blender. If the glaze is too thick, thin it with a small amount of water. Refrigerate glaze until ready to use.

Turkey Stock

While the turkey is roasting in the oven, make this stock as a base for delicious gravy. Save or freeze leftover stock for making turkey soup later. For a richer stock, add chicken backs or wings or buy a turkey wing to supplement stock.

Turkey neck and giblets (not the liver)
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
2 tablespoons vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 bay leaf
Handful fresh parsley and/or thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
Cold, purified water (at least 3 quarts)
Salt
3-4 dried juniper berries, optional

1. Place the turkey pieces and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour enough cold water to cover. Add bay leaf, parsley and thyme, peppercorns and cloves. Slowly bring to a boil.

2. Lower heat and gently simmer for at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours, with the lid partially covering the pan. The longer the stock simmers the more flavorful and nutritious it becomes. Occasionally skim the soup as impurities rise to the surface.

3. Remove soup from the heat. Remove the turkey pieces and discard. Strain the stock through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

Basic Gravy

Follow these instructions to make rich, flavorful gravy. Allow at least ½ cup gravy for each person. Don’t worry about making too much. Leftover gravy can be used with leftovers or added to your gluten-free turkey pot pie.

Turkey or chicken stock Arrowroot or cornstarch,* for thickening
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Remove turkey from the pan. Deglaze the roasting pan by adding 2 cups of stock to the pan and placing pan over low heat. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan for any bits of turkey left behind.

2. Strain the gravy through a sieve into a saucepan. Remove excess fat that rises to the top and discard.

3. Add additional turkey stock to saucepan and simmer uncovered.

4. Make a slurry by dissolving arrowroot or cornstarch into cold water. The amount of starch depends on the amount of gravy you’re making. Start with less starch; you can always add more. For 1 quart of gravy, dissolve about 2 tablespoons starch into ½ cup cold water.

5. Stir the slurry into the saucepan. Increase heat to medium, stirring occasionally until gravy reaches desired thickness. Add additional slurry to further thicken the gravy or more stock or water to thin, as needed.

6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

*TIP Arrowroot slurry takes longer to thicken than a slurry made with cornstarch.

Roast Turkey
Select a natural turkey, preferably a free-range bird that hasn’t been injected with any additives. The key to a great turkey dinner is to make sure that you don’t under or overcook the bird. Before the estimated completion time, test the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer; white meat/breast should reach 160 degrees and the dark meat/thigh should reach 170 degrees. When pierced, juices should be clear. If the turkey begins to brown too early, check your oven temperature and make a tent with foil to protect turkey breast from overcooking and drying out – do not enclose turkey in foil as it will steam versus roast. You may use a piece of parchment paper between bird and foil to avoid aluminum contact.

Depending on size, roast an unstuffed turkey at 325 degrees as follows. If your turkey is stuffed, add an extra 15-30 minutes to the overall cooking time.

Weight Cooking Times How much to buy?
8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours (1 pound per person)
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours (¾ pound per person)
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours (¾ pound per person)
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours (¾ pound per person)
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hour (¾ pound per person)

After the turkey has finished cooking, remove it from the roasting pan and set it on a platter to “rest” before carving. This step allows the juices to return to the turkey and gives you time to make delicious gravy. (Save any juices that accumulate on the platter and add them to the gravy.) The turkey will continue to cook when resting and the internal temperature may raise 5-10 additional degrees.

Hope these recipes find their way to your Thanksgiving Table! Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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