Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chris Yambar's Recipe For Making A Flawless Turkey

BEHOLD!!!! Now you can make the perfect Thanksgiving Turkey just like Chris Yambar does at his house! Hot, moist and full of flavor. (But enough about Yambar! Let's get to that turkey.)

You'll need to gather the following items: turkey, 8 apples, 6-8 oranges, olive oil, seasoning, stick butter, roaster pan, aluminum foil, paper towels, stove, sink and other items that are mentioned below.

1) Buy any size turkey and thaw it completely. Look, if you can't do this, then go to Denny's or your Mom's house. Loser.

2) Wash, core and cut up 8 apples and 4 oranges. Simply cut the apples into four pieces. Leave the skins on. Put them aside in a big bowl. Trust me.

3) Look at the wrapper and note the actual bird weight, how long they tell you to cook it based on that weight and at what temperature. THEN write that info down and take off the wrapper.

4) Pre-heat your oven to the temp you just wrote down. Most stoves will beep when the desired temp has been reached. This takes a few minutes.

5) Reach into the bird and remove the giblet packet and neck. Some people love this stuff. Me? I always put the neck and liver aside for later on. The heart is too tough for me, but maybe Grandpa might like it. Cats love a little liver if chopped up fine. We'll get back to this in a minute. If nobody will eat this, then simply pitch it with the wrapper.

6) Rinse your turkey inside and out with cool water. Do not use hot water. Do not pat dry. Trust me.

7) Place your turkey in metal or aluminum roaster pan that it has big sides. You're gonna want to catch all the juices. GRAVY! You can put the white-meat breast side up the traditional way OR face down with the dark meat on top. Putting the breasts up top is traditional and great for table display. This does tend to dry the bird out a bit even if you're a master baster. Heh. Putting the breasts down allows all the succulent juices to drip down and surround the white meat, making it moist and flavorful. Rather than serve the traditional way, we always pre-carve our cooked turkey and bring that to the table so we can dig in FAST! You decide. Let your freak flag fly! Some like the legs hiked up while others ... never mind. Either way wins. (Is it getting hot in here, or is that just my oven?)

8) Take some olive oil and pour it into your hands. Pour some onto your turkey. Then rub it all over, top and bottom. You'll want to catch all of it, EVEN the inside. I always leave some hot water going in the sink to rinse my hands when I'm done. Paper towels, too.

9) Get your shake-on seasoning and liberally cover the inside of the turkey, then the outside top and sides. The bottom will take care of itself with the drippings. See? We use a combination of local and national brands. Most of you can get Adobo or some kind of Cajun seasoning at your market. I love doing the inside with the national brand and doing the outside with Ohio regional favorites like Chipotle Dry Rub from Quaker Steak & Lube or good old Uncle Bill's All Purpose Seasoning (garlic, salt, onion, pepper, basil, and oregano).

10) Now stuff those apples and oranges into the turkey's butt and neck pouch. Fill it with as much as you can. Jam it! Cut more if you have to. This is important because this fruit will baste your bird from the inside and mix its flavor with the seasoning, oil and natural juices from the turkey. Wait until you taste that gravy!

11) When you hear the beeper of your stove, then you know that it's time to cover the turkey with some foil and put it into the oven. Be sure to note the exact time you do this and add the exact cooking time per pound that you read on the turkey wrapper. Set a timer.

12) Before you close the oven, feel free to slip the neck down the inner side of the pan. You can add the liver, too, or fry it up in butter in an egg pan after you've shut the oven door. I consider it a primal hunting victory treat. Grrr!

13) Sometimes I add some raw washed carrots and a whole peeled onion on the sides of the turkey. I just like whole cooked carrots and onion this way. This, too, will add to the sensation of your gravy. This is completely optional.

14) Nap.

15) You'll want to keep the foil on until at least the halfway point in the cooking process. This will keep heat and fluids trapped inside and not dry your turkey out.

16) Now if you're like me (and who isn't?!), you love your turkey skin crispy. YES! CRISPY! After the halfway point in cooking, take off the foil and pitch it. Pour melted butter over the turkey and put it back into the oven again so it keeps its heat and keeps on cooking. Microwave 1/4 of a stick at a time and do this every 30-40 minutes until the bird is ready to come out. On the final butter bath, dust turkey with some more seasoning. This will bake right on.

17) When the bird is ready to come out for carving, make a box or 2 of Low Sodium Stove Top Stuffing. Let it sit with the lid on until the guests arrive.

18) Take the bird out, let it rest for a couple of minutes and carve it anyway you like. It's your dinner party, man. You could be eating with the Queen of England, the Flintstones or that fat guy from Lost for all I know. You decide how to do it. When you're done carving, scoop out the fruit and pitch it.

19) Take all the drippings and strain them into a bowl. This will get all the chips and pieces out and make for a smoother gravy. Or don't. This is your gig from here on out.

20) Here are your gravy options:
A) You can pour the gravy back into the turkey pan or into another pot and slowly whisk in some flour or cornstarch until it thickens the way you like it. Add the flour a teenie bit at a time and allow it to thicken. Do this over a low heat. You don't want to blow this by burning or making it too doughy. It is way better to have gravy a bit soupy than a starch wad. The flavor will be a knock out!
B) You can skip the whole pan thing and dump it and the stuffing into a big-ass mixing bowl and toss it together. But you'll miss out on adding it onto your turkey meat.
C) You can serve the cut turkey meat on a platter, the stuffing separate and have the gravy for both.

21) Pray and give thanks.

22) Add a can of cranberry sauce, some green beans, corn, bread and butter and some pumpkin pie with whipped cream and you're taking a siesta 30 minutes after super! You may want to rub some cocoa butter on your warm, bulgin belly at this time. Let Grandpa drive himself to the hospital as his heart stiffens. What do you care? He'll die with a smile. You will have some of the best turkey sandwiches of all time for the next few days, too.

23) There you have it. The real pilgrims probably ate tree bark, each other's dirty clothing and their own children as they froze to death back in history. But not you! You had the best turkey of all time!

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