Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Champion Performance Recipe of The Week - Cider Brined Turkey and LEFTOVERS!!!

For those of us in the USA, we're approaching Turkey Day. Traditionally this is the day when Americans express their thankfulness with utter gluttony and Black Friday Mayhem. Since gluttony isn't on the to-do list for many of us ;-) how about a recipe for the best damn turkey you've ever eaten? Oh... and LOW SODIUM, too! I'm sorry, Chelle - did you say low sodium in reference to a brined turkey? Why yes, yes I did. ;-) And... there are a gazillion things to do with the leftovers that will give you tasty meals and snacks, while still on track with your goals!
See below the recipe for ideas on what to do with all those leftovers.

I've made this turkey every holiday for years and each time it turns out moist and scrumptious! Though I should point out to those of us who are, let's say - grace challenged... the brining process can be a bit tricky... 20 lb turkey, 5 gallon bucket, tons of ice water.  Yes, I have landed on my ass, dripping with icy brine with a naked turkey in my lap. More than once. Just saying. You're warned.

Cider Brined Turkey
Williams-Sonoma (link)

  • 1 Turkey Brining Kit —there are some terrific ones that are apple based. Choose whichever flavor you prefer.
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed. Go for an All Natural bird, with no added 'solution'. Compare the sodium content of different brands to find the most natural.
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (DON'T panic! You're not going to eat a stick of butter)
  • 4 tsp. chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, parsley and sage
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Prepare the turkey brine and brine the turkey according to the package instructions. Replace 6 cups of the cold water with 6 cups apple cider. After completing brine preparation, add to 5-gallon bucket and slowly submerse turkey into the solution. Cover bucket and store in refrigerator for 24 hours.

CAREFULLY remove turkey from bucket and flip it upside down. Cover and store 24 hours.
After 48 hours of soaking, the turkey is ready to be cooked.

Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400ºF.

In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, herbs and pepper until well blended. Spread the butter mixture evenly on the outside of the turkey. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine.

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Loosely tent the turkey with foil, then reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. After about 2 1/2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12.

Make-Ahead Tips: Prepare the brine mixture (but do not add the turkey) up to 2 days in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

*note: do not use the drippings for gravy - too salty!

Got turkey? Dice up the meat to make salads or low-carb wraps (La Tortilla Factory Smart and Delicious Tortillas ).
Shred it, add some low-sodium salsa or mustard and toss it into your brown rice and steamed veggies for an instant 'bowl'.
Simmer up some high protein soup by adding Pacific Natural Foods Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth , diced veggies and turkey, and simmer several hours - use a free hand with the Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb or Mrs. Dash Italian Medley .
Add diced turkey to an egg white omelet.
You can also dice up the meat and divide it into separate servings (little baggies), then store them in a larger ziploc in the freezer - instant grab and go protein!

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