Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Rest of the Story, or Disaster 2009

As previously mentioned the turkey that was supposed to come out of the oven at 5:30 was done at 2:30.

Christopher Kimball of Cooks Illustrated (you know, the people who cook something 50 different ways to determine the BEST way to make it?)  has a recipe in The Cooks Bible that has you cook a 13# turkey upside down at 350 for an hour, then 200 for two hours, then flip it breast side up for another 2.75 hours, and finish at 400 to brown the bugger. Seemed like a good idea, and he should know right?

Well, since our oven has seemed to run about 50 degrees cool since we moved in last spring, I adjusted for this and roasted away. I even gave up stuffing the bird to be sure it got cooked properly at this low temp. Ha! When I flipped the bird at hour 3, she seemed pretty done and the instant read thermometer confirmed my fears. Done. 3 hours early.

Fifteen minutes on hold to reach a Home Economist at the Butterball Hotline, and she told me in no uncertain terms to put it back in the oven at 150 degrees and hold it there 'til time to eat. She swore it wouldn't over cook. Since I'd been cooking it at 200 (or so I believed) this seemed unlikely and I put it in the refrigerator. Being the older sister I never learned to take good advice.

While the turkey was in the fridge, I  ran the pan drippings through my wonderful fat separator and put them back in the pan along with the turkey stock that my sister shamed me into making from the giblets and neck.

Out of the fridge at 4:30 and into the oven to reheat and brown the top, which didn't get brown the first time around bc of being upside down. 5 PM not getting brown, instant read thermometer says 120 degrees, lets just turn the heat up. To 450. And lets go sit in the living room and have a glass of prosecco while we wait. Or 2.

The smell of the sumptuous blend of pan drippings and turkey stock carbonizing to the pan brought a volley of pirate language that would have made our grandmother turn in her grave. Or crack up.

So we had turkey as tough as shoe leather with no gravy to grease it down. Fortunately there was lots of stuffing and it was Guh-ood.

The bugger is in the soup pot now, and I'm determined it'll be tender this time around. And while it's cooking, I'm going to test the oven temperature for real.

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