Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

Heritage Turkey in Parchment Paper

Certified organic farmer Maria Baldwin grows most of the ingredients for her Thanksgiving meal at Thornhill Farm in McClellanville, S.C., and gets her turkey from nearby Keegan-Filion Farm. Her recipe, which includes several steps to ensure tenderness, is for a bird that weighs about 15 lb.

Step 1. Brine it
2 qt. water
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp. orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig sage
1 sprig rosemary
15 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. juniper berries, crushed
1/2 cup pureed persimmon pulp (optional)

Simmer all the ingredients in a large, deep stockpot for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and chill thoroughly. Place turkey in brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. (Both turkey and brine should be cold before combining to curb food-borne pathogens.)

Step 2. Stuff it
8 cups bread cubes (saved from breads you really love!)
1/2 cup shallots, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh Jerusalem artichoke, cubed (celery may be used as a substitute)
1 cup fresh oyster mushrooms
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup salted fresh-cream butter (or any high-quality butter)
11/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper plus more for seasoning turkey
21/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade; 2 more cups will be needed for the roasting pan)
kosher salt

Sauté the Jerusalem artichoke and shallots in 4 tbsp. butter until softened. Add oyster mushrooms and continue to sauté over medium heat until mixture is fragrant and mushrooms begin to release liquid. Add parsley and rosemary.

Combine the sauté ed mixture with the bread crumbs in a large ceramic bowl. Melt remaining butter and combine with chicken stock. Add to bread crumb mixture. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. The mixture should be very moist. Chill before stuffing the bird.

Rub turkey inside and out with butter, then season with kosher salt and white pepper. Fill cavity with half the stuffing. Press the remaining stuffing in a layer 1 in. thick over the entire outside of the breast.

Step 3. Tent it
2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

Place stuffed turkey into a roasting pan, preferably on a grate to keep the bird off the bottom of the pan. Pour chicken stock into the pan.

Wrap the long edge of a sheet of extra-wide parchment paper around the perimeter of the pan, overlapping the edges. Pull the paper snug around the lip of the pan and use a belt of cooking twine to hold the paper in place. Fold the resulting cylinder of paper to create a tent over the bird, as if wrapping an oddly shaped present.

Close the top securely with a couple of tight folds. This will keep the moisture inside the pan, eliminate the need for basting and allow the turkey to brown inside its tent.

Step 4. Roast it
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place turkey in oven, reduce temperature to 325°F and roast for 15 to 20 minutes per pound to an internal temperature of 180°F. Check the temperature by piercing the paper with a meat thermometer. Remove parchment and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.