Monday, November 24, 2008

May I recommend a kosher bird?

Of course I may. It's my blog.

And so I'll share with you the advice I gave to my neighbor this morning (that's what I do after depositing Sophie in the carpool: stand in front of my house and disseminate advice and opinions about food). Cancel the expensive free-range, college-educated, organic bird you have ordered from your fancy butcher and go to Trader Joe's to buy an Empire Kosher turkey. They're of course more expensive than a regular bird but are so much more flavorful and are nearly impossible to overcook to that dry crumbly state. Here's the thing: the kosher process gives you in effect what you would have from brining a turkey. I know brining is all the rage, but don't you have something else you would rather do with that refrigerator space?? Brining is great. I've got pork chops brining in my fridge right now, but brining something as large as a turkey is a pain in the butt.

And don't listen to the New York Time's advice that you should refrain from rinsing your bird. You need to give a kosher bird a good rinse or the pan drippings will be too salty for making gravy.

This is the effect I will be going for.

Last year we were at Husband's Aunt Nancy's for Thanksgiving, and she produced this beautiful and delicious bird by covering the bird with cheesecloth soaked in white wine and melted butter. She covered this with foil for most of the roasting, removing it at the end to brown things up nicely. I have a smaller over that heats unevenly (the downside of having a lovely vintage stove), so I probably won't end up with a bird as uniformly brown. But it will taste good.

If you visit the Empire Poultry website, they also have a very useful glossary, allegedly for food professionals, that includes everything from bagel to Mazel Tov. But they forgot schiksa. That's an important word, right? As in "Good Lord, there's a schiksa in my kitchen!!"


Jen Yu said...

If I had a Trader Joes closer than 7 hours... I'm dry-brining this year (rather, we're actually eating a turkey this year!) and I'll let you know how it turns out. I'll post it tonight. I guarantee that it has got to be easier to dry brine a bird than to dry brine AND photograph it (for blogging). Sometimes I think food blogging really puts the kibosh on my cooking. But I like your idea and I think I agree with covering the bird first then browning it at the end versus some other info I saw that suggested browning first then covering - how dumb is that? Who wants it to reach brown crispiness only to steam it up for the remaining 2 hours or so?

Deb said...

mmm...looks good. Just went to Trader Joe's this morning, and got a turkey!

How great is TJ's?

Tina said...

I'm so excited for Turkey Day!

Anonymous said...

A little trick my dad did to ensure a nicely browned juicy turkey was to oil a large brown paper bag completely, and cover the bird with it from the very start while cooking. Turns out amazing.

NJDecorator said...

I always use wither s fressh or kosher turkey. Growing up around kosher food has made me appreciate how much jucier kosher meat is...of and BTW how bland kosher food can be!

Just check the whole bird for feathers or feather tips - they ar enot the absolute best at cleaning the skin off.