Sunday, November 27, 2011

Southwestern Turkey with Garlic-Ancho Chili Paste and Gravy

It's been a long time since I made a turkey ... too long. I wanted to try something a bit different this time, so I chose a recipe with an ancho chile rub. I was a bit concerned about the method of cooking though, so I went back to Alton Brown's method that I've used before with much success. I'm not sure how much the flavour of the paste came through (if at all which may be due to me scaling back the paste too much because my bird was smaller), but the meat was incredibly moist. I may continue to play around with the flavours, but the method is a complete winner.

Southwestern Turkey with Garlic-Ancho Chili Paste and Gravy (Flavour from epicurious, originally Bon Appetit; Method from Alton Brown)

1 17-to 18-pound turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
3 large heads garlic
3 large dried ancho chilies, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces
1/2 cup corn oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 1/2 pounds turkey neck or wings, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 cups (about) canned low-salt chicken broth
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
Cayenne pepper

1. 2 to 3 days before roasting: Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
2. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
3. Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat: Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
4. Make chile paste: Preheat oven to 350°F. Separate heads of garlic into individual cloves (do not peel). Pierce each clove once with toothpick. Scatter garlic on baking sheet; roast until tender and beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Peel garlic, cutting hard tip off each clove.
5. Pack enough garlic into 1/2-cup measuring cup to fill (about 40 cloves); reserve any remaining garlic. Blend 1/2 cup garlic in processor to form course puree.
6. Meanwhile, place chilies in small saucepan. Add enough water just to cover. Simmer over medium-low heat until chilies are soft and most of water evaporates, about 15 minutes.
7. Add chili mixture, oil, cumin, and honey to garlic in processor. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover paste and garlic; chill.)
8. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
9. Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
10. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Slide hand under skin of turkey breast to loosen skin. Spread 1/2 cup garlic-paste over breast under skin. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into main cavity. Rub 2 tablespoons paste all over outside of turkey. Reserve remaining paste for gravy.
11. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add neck and giblets, turkey neck pieces and onion; sauté brown, about 15 minutes.
12. Place contents of skillet around turkey in pan. Add celery, tomato, allspice and any reserved garlic to pan; pour in 2 cups broth.
13. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
14. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
15. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
16. Using tongs, remove turkey parts from pan; discard.
17. Pour mixture in pan into sieve set over large bowl. Press on solids in sieve to release liquid. Spoon fat from pan juices; add enough broth to juices to measure 6 cups.
18. Stir 1/2 cup reserved garlic-chili paste in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until liquefied.
19. Add flour and stir 1 minute (mixture will be very thick).
20. Gradually add 6 cups broth mixture, whisking until smooth.
21. Simmer until reduced to 4 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes.
22. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper.
23. Serve turkey with gravy.

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