The Flat Possum Gazette  

Test Kitchen

Courtesy of the Road-Kill Press

   TURKEY OR CHICKEN WITH LEMONS

Turkey with lemons

1. In order to make the bird jucier, first brine it.  This means dissolving kosher salt, about 1 cup or so, in a stock pot of water.  To determine the proper salinity, taste the water as you put the salt in and when it tastes like sea water, you've got it.  Put the bird in the salt water, refrigerate it (yes, you have to make space in the ice box), and leave it for 12 to 14 hours. I promise, you will not taste the salt. Remove the bird and wash it down. You can brine the bird in pieces, or just the breast, anyway you want, but brine it.

2.  Preheat the oven to 450 deg.  Remove all the bird's innards, and replace them with 2 or 3 lemons that you have pierced with a kitchen fork about a dozen times each. Be sure and put some salt and pepper inside the bird when you place the lemons.  I always try and close up the bird's rear with toothpicks, but you can sew it shut with butcher's twine if you want to look professional.

3.  Season the bird on the outside:  rub a little olive oil on the bird, then follow with salt, pepper, Lawry's seasoned salt and any other seasonings that turn you on.

4.  Put the bird in a roasting pan, preferably on a wire tray to keep it slightly elevated. Add about a cup or so of water in the bottom of the roasting pan. Now that the oven has reached 450, slap that bird in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.  Don't go off and watch TV or something.  At the end of 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 325 deg. You don't need to baste it or anything, just let the old bird cook. 

5.  If you want to do it right, get an instant-read thermometer, and stick it in the breast and a leg at the end of 1 1/2 hours.  See if it reads between 162 and 170 degrees.  If so, it is done. If not, take the bird's temperature about every 15 minutes or so.  You want to avoid over-cooking and therefore, drying out the bird. The combination of three things should keep the bird juicy and give you a generous amount of drippings in the pan:
(a.) brining the bird the day before; (b.) inserting the pierced lemons; and (c.) adding the water in the bottom of the roasting pan to give the bird a steam bath.

6.  Use those drippings to make gravy and, after de-glazing the roasting pan with white wine, and reducing the broth, pour it over the rice or mashed potatoes you are going to serve with the bird.  Or, if you really want to eat good, cut up some celery in the reduced drippings and eat it as a side dish. Obviously, a magnificent dish.

 

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