What's cooking: Turkey time with Pete
Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.
Last month, Pete and Barb created a multi-course autumn menu. This month, they'll continue to add recipes until they have a complete, multi-course Colorado Thanksgiving menu. Last week, Pete made a Gorgonzola dip. Today, he's doing turkey.
"The breast is dried out, and the thighs aren't cooked through." Sound familiar? "With our full-proof turkey method, you'll never have to hear this again," promises Pete. "Let's face it: No matter how good a cook you are, cooking white and dark meat to perfection is difficult. This method makes it very easy to cook fork-tender legs and thighs and a perfectly roasted breast."
Turkey confit and roast breast of turkey
What you'll need:
One 12-to-5 pound fresh turkey with the legs removed and the back cut out (ask your butcher to do this step for you. If your butcher can't -- or won't -- the butcher at Marczyk can, and will.) Remove giblets and neck and discard or freeze. Thoroughly rinse out cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the neck and cavity of any excess fat and skin.
For the turkey leg confit:
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp each marjoram, thyme, rosemary and sage
Enough vegetable oil or duck fat (preferred) to completely submerge the legs (you can buy duck fat at Tony's Market, Whole Foods or Marczyk)
1. At least 12 hours -- and up to 24 hours -- before you plan to serve the turkey, dry-rub the legs all over with salt, pepper, and herbs.
2. Cover the turkey and and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
3. After 12-24 hours, rinse the legs thoroughly under cold running water to remove the brine.
4. Using a bag filled with water, or some other weight device, submerge legs in a large pan filled with the vegetable oil or duck fat.
5. Put the legs in the oven at 225 degrees and cook for 5 hours, or until the skin is golden.
6. Serve immediately, or if you've prepared the legs in advance, you can refrigerate them for up to two days and reheat them in the oven, in the same roasting pan as the breast, until they're warmed and the skin is browned.
For the roasted turkey breast:
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp marjoram, thyme, rosemary and sage
Roast turkey breast method:
"I recommend bringing the turkey to room temperature to help the meat cook more evenly," suggests Pete.
1. Rub the turkey breast with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper.
2. To roast, heat the oven to 400 degrees and arrange the roast so that there's good air-flow around the breast. Baste the meat with drippings frequently to help develop a nice brown skin. Depending on the size, the breast will take approximately an hour and a half to cook. Look for the internal thermometer to read 145 degrees at the center of the breast. Remove from the oven and let the breast rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
If you're making gravy, be sure to reserve the drippings from the turkey.