Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Well, now that the Consumas season (as I call it) is over with I have really been enjoying my Christmas season. We had friends over for a nice turkey dinner on Christmas Eve. It was quite enjoyable and we all ate like pigs! Or I did anyway. I really enjoy hanging out with people who you can actually talk to and have enjoyable conversations. I was not looking too forward to going to my sister's on Christmas Day but Mama really wanted to go and I was her ride. It was going to be stormy and such and she didn't want to drive that far. I don't mind taking Mama anywhere she wants to go but didn't know how enjoyable this was going to be since my sister hasn't really been speaking to my brother or me. Ya'll know my family obligational type things have been wearing thin in recent years and so this didn't look to be too much fun. Turns out it was okay. Not great but okay, and with the stormy weather coming in nobody stayed too long so I was able to get back home at a good hour. Jack and I then had a very nice Christmas evening together.
I don't know if any of ya'll have ever tried brining a turkey, or any other poultry, before cooking but after doing this I am HOOKED! It was wonderful! Soaking the turkey in the salt water solution makes it so tender and moist. Very, very tasty. EDIT!! Do NOT use a self-basting or flavored turkey!! Use only a plain, unadorned bird. I cleaned a cooler I had that was big enough to fit the turkey but not too big, then dissolved one cup of kosher salt in about 2 quarts of hot water. I then added about 1 1/2 gallons of cold water to the cooler and poured the salt mixture in. You want to use about 1/2 cup of salt to every gallon of water. I also then added about 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Some people add various herbs to the water but I left that for the actual cooking. Then, dump a bunch of ice over the turkey, making sure the turkey is actually submerged in the brine. I also put it breast down so that area was definitely under the water.
Let the turkey soak in this brine for 12-24 hours. Make sure to add ice if needed to keep it cold. Then, on the day of cooking, take the turkey out, rinse it well and pat dry. I let mine air dry while I was preparing the seasonings etc. I then coated the turk in melted butter and sprinkled well with powdered garlic, parsley, pepper and stuffed it loosely with onion and whole sage. I did NOT add any more salt. I then placed it in my oiled LeCreuset dish and baked it at 350 F. for about 3 1/2- 4 hours, basting occasionally. Anyway, the meat thermometer registered 180 F. I also covered the turk loosely with aluminum foil about half way through to keep it from over browning. YUM_OOO!!
Since today was Boxing Day I fixed my usual little gift for our mail lady and took it down to the mailbox. She's very nice and has made an effort to thank me for remembering her on Christmas. It's kinda sad more people don't do that for mail carriers and such; not that what I do is all that great but it's something and helps her pay for a little gas. (In our rural areas many carriers have to pay that themselves and use their own vehicle). I also gave the chickens and wild birds some treats and extra food today. We actually got some snow too! so it was nice to piddle around outside for a while and enjoy that. The snow was very light and it didn't lay but that didn't really matter. All in all it was a very relaxing day and we enjoyed just goofing off.
Anywhoo, I hope all of ya'll have had a wonderful holiday if you celebrate Christmas or any of that. Did any of you try anything new or different this year?