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More Musings on the Bird (Turkey, that is)

Thanksgiving is fast approaching! Because of this, we are making some last-ditch efforts to cram you full of recipes like a turkey stuffed for the big day. And speaking of turkey, this is a good one. It's another Martha recipe. I have to admit to relying on the vast arsenal of MS recipes for Thanksgiving in particular.

It really isn't the case that I favor one source for recipes over another. I will tell you that it takes A LOT for me to save a recipe. And I have made the ones I am suggesting to you over and over again (I put them in a binder with clear sleeves because I am a messy cook and paper will not survive my kitchen). They have not failed me.

Here is one for what I call The Candy Apple Turkey. It's real name is Maple Roast Turkey with Riesling Gravy. The skin of the turkey gets thin, sweet and crispy. So much so that you might not eat the rest of it, but just peel off the skin and feast on that alone. Also, I will support anything that involves Riesling. Seriously.

Following this recipe we have a very special treat for you - The Hartmann Family Fried Turkey Instructional. This is not to be missed, and I will explain more below. But first:

Candy Apple Turkey with The Wine I Love Most on the Planet:

What You Need:

1 fourteen-pound fresh turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cornbread Sourdough Stuffing
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Riesling wine
2 cups Homemade Turkey Stock, or low-sodium canned chicken broth, skimmed of fat
2/3 cup seedless red and green grapes, each cut in half

What You Do:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.with rack in lowest third of oven. Wash turkey inside and out with cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck wing tips under body. Generously season neck, body cavities, and underside with salt and pepper.

Loosely fill the neck cavity with the stuffing. Using wooden skewers or toothpicks, secure the flap. Holding the turkey upright, loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Pull the legs together, and tie them with kitchen twine. Heap on additional stuffing so that it is bulging out of the cavity. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the bird, and set it on a rack in a roasting pan.

Cut a double layer of cheesecloth to fit over the entire turkey. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Place cheesecloth in the butter, completely soaking cloth. Drape cheesecloth over the bird.

Place turkey in the oven, and roast 30 minutes. Baste with butter that has accumulated in the pan. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. and loosely cover bird with a large piece of aluminum foil; roast 30 minutes more. Baste again. Continue roasting, basting once an hour, until a meat thermometer registers 180 the leg and 170 the breast, about 3 hours.

During the last half hour of roasting, place grated ginger in a small, double layer of cheesecloth; squeeze juice into a small saucepan. Add maple syrup and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat the mixture until the butter has melted and is bubbling. Remove the maple-syrup glaze from heat.

Remove foil tent and cheesecloth from bird, and discard. Brush glaze over bird several times during last half hour. Remove turkey from the oven, and transfer to a carving board. Let rest 30 minutes before carving.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with flour, and mix together until smooth; set aside. Pour pan drippings into a fat separator or glass measuring cup, and let stand 10 minutes. If using a fat separator, carefully return juices to pan; discard fat. If using a measuring cup, use a spoon to skim fat from top, and return juices to pan.

Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Pour wine into the pan, and, using a wooden spoon, stir up any brown bits on bottom. Cook liquid until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Add turkey stock, and cook until reduced again by half, about 7 minutes.

Pass the gravy through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, and pour into a small saucepan. Whisk in the reserved butter-flour mixture until the butter has melted. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let gravy simmer until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Add red and green grapes to the gravy; serve gravy with turkey.

* Note: I never use cheesecloth. I probably should, but I feel like it needlessly complicates my life, and I'm about simplicity, people. So there.

** Also, a SIEVE? Come on, really? If you guys think I do this, you're wrong. But I encourage you to do it, and tell me about it.

*** Original Martha recipe, here.

And now for The Hartman Family Fried Turkey Instructional. Who is this Hartmann Family, you may ask. Well, I will tell you. The Hartmanns are our neighbors on Long Beach Island. My family has had a summer house on LBI since before I was a twinkle in my mother's eye (which, as John will remind you is WAY before HE was a twinkle).

Anyway, the Hartmanns have always been our neighbors, and better ones you really couldn't find. Always friendly, always helpful (the amount of times Mr. Hartmann has fixed random stuff around our house while we are away for the winter is probably too numerous to count), and always having a good time.

And if you're talking about having a good time, frying turkeys for Thanksgiving is something you should consider. You should also consider safety goggles. And a shield.

So, I went straight to the source of fun and frying for this recipe, Mr. Hartmann himself. This is it, in his own words. Thank you for the recipe, and thank you for being such great people and neighbors!

The Hartmann Family Fried Turkey Instructional

To fry a turkey you need a turkey fryer which is a large stockpot with a basket or lifting apparatus, a burner (you'll be doing this OUTSIDE) a thermometer and a large amount of oil, like 3 to 5 gallons. The fryer is available at Home Depot or Lowes and sometimes Costco.  The oil is usually in a large box. Sometimes peanut oil is recommended, but regular vegetable oil works well.

I think there is a new electric fryer out now supposedly safer but we like living dangerously.

Preparing the turkey: dry rub with mixture of your choosing under breast skin and all over the outside.  Refrigerate overnight, covered.

On Thanksgiving day, heat the oil in a stockpot outside and away from the house.  It's a good idea to put a large piece of plywood underneath the burner stand to contain any oil overflow.  When the temperature reaches the recommended degrees, VERY SLOWLY lower the turkey into the oil.  There will be much bubbling up as the hot oil and cold water (in the turkey) do their thing (sear).

The recommended frying time is usually 3 to 5 minutes per pound.  Carefully remove turkey when done and disengage the lifting apparatus. Allow to rest. If you haven't started drinking before this, catch up. The critical danger is over!  Enjoy!!

Oh yes, there is the matter of the left over oil. It can be used again (maybe twice more) to fry turkeys and then it starts to break down.  Store it in a cool, dark place where it will be forgotten.

Some more photos from the shore....

Reader Comments (3)

What an inspiring and yummy turkey recipe! This sounds so perfect for the coming holiday :)
PS: I just love the pictures in your blog... they are so stunning :)

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTes

And the cooking method for this year is........????

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTHEBOX

I was considering cooking by incendiary device. Like a blow torch.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjohnandelana

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