Friday, November 28, 2008

Deep-fried turkey, southwest-style

We just had a wonderful southwestern-style Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. The dishes were tradition-based: dressing, potato gratin, slow-braised green beans, giblet gravy, and 3 kinds of pies (pumpkin, apple, and apple/cranberry). The unusual parts were a mole Peter made (with rich homemade chicken stock) and the turkey.

The interesting part for me was to adjust our usual Cajun brine (used to inject the turkey before deep frying) to reflect the tone of a meal inspired by a different region.

It’s best to inject the turkey and let it sit in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. Then take it out 2 hours before cooking.

I realize this is kind of an after-the-fact posting, but it might give you an idea for what to do the next time you want a turkey dinner. At our house we are determined this year to have turkey again sometime over the winter.

I see no reason why you couldn’t use this recipe for a roasted bird. Just follow the directions below and roast in your usual fashion.

The injection liquid will seem somewhat spicy, but it won't be that way after the turkey is cooked.

Southwestern-style deep-fried turkey

1 14 pound kosher turkey
¾ cup chopped onion
handful of cilantro
3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, ½ seeded, ½ not seeded, chopped
1 guajillo pepper, seeded
1 tbsp cumin plus 1 tsp
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tbsp hot sauce (or to taste)
1 tbsp ancho chile powder
1 ½ cup chicken broth
salt and pepper

Preheat oil to 375°.

Saute onion.

Add garlic

Add broth, Serrano, guajillo, 1 tsp cumin, oregano, cilantro and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and, when cooled, strain out the solids and discard them.

Inject turkey all over with the liquid.

Mix 1 tbsp cumin and 1 tbsp ancho chile powder and rub under skin of breast, legs, and thighs.

Making sure the turkey is as dry as possible, carefully lower it into the fryer and set a timer for 45 minutes. Check internal temperature. When it’s 160°, let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Let rest for 20 minutes, carve and serve.

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