Thursday, December 26, 2013

Baked Turkey and Bone Broth

This year I have fallen in love with local pastured turkeys. This is my third year baking a pastured bird and while the first 2 (one local, one not and mailed from a few states away) were very good they were nothing like this year! I did alter the recipe slightly from what I had done in the past and I like the results!

The turkey came from Rambling River Farm and was purchased at the Carriage House Market (one of my favorite local markets!). I bought one fresh for Thanksgiving dinner and was so impressed I went back and they luckily had frozen ones left (and the price is a little lower now, too!). I am bad and start the thaw of the turkey on the counter (please note that most experts tell you not to do this but I have not had any problems nor feel insecure with this as long as the meat comes from a quality and reliable source) and then let it thaw the rest of the way in the fridge for a few days. It was still slightly frozen on the inside so I just made sure to adjust my cooking time a little. Make sure you remove the neck and giblets. I usually just put them in the pan to roast with the bird.

Mix the following in a small dish:
garlic, onion, salt, pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil. Exact amounts up to you!

Slice one apple, crush 5-6 garlic cloves, 1/2-1 whole onion and a large handful of carrots. Add this mixture to the inside of the bird. (If I had celery I would have added that, too.)

Start by separating the skin from the meat of the turkey with your hand. Then pour melted coconut oil (about 1/2 a cup) between the skin and the meat and spread around with your hand. Then take half of the seasoning mixture and also place between the skin and meat. The coconut oil will harden- this is alright.

Spread the rest of the oil on the outside of the bird and spread the rest of the seasonings as well.

Bake at 275. My turkeys were about 14 lbs and it took approximately 5 hours, this one a little longer because of still having some ice inside. Check with a meat thermometer. I usually listen to the bird for when they tell me they are ready. The thermometer was not reading quite hot enough and although I thought it was done I left it in longer and then the breast was a little dry. I should have just listened to my gut!

Now, if you are not going to eat this beautiful bird right away, no worries! Simply carve, place in freezer bags/containers and cover with juice from the pan and freeze until you are ready. Then reheat in the oven (covered) at 350 until warm. Sometimes it is even better this way, especially if it did get a little dried out.

And don't even think about getting rid of the bones! Use them to make some yummy and nutritious bone broth for soups and other recipes. SO much healthier than any store-bought broth. If you don't want to make it right away, simply freeze the bones, pan drippings, etc. until you have the time to use them. I currently have 2 turkeys and 1 chicken waiting in the fridge to be made into broth!

To make bone broth simply use as large of a stock pot as you can find. Put in the carcass and cover with water. If you want to add any other items (broccoli stems, etc) you can. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer slowly for as long as you can. I like to start early in the morning and go until afternoon.

The broth will need to cool before freezing so I like to separate into as many pots/bowls as I can to help it cool faster (the windows in my dining room usually steam up while this is going on!). Then to strain the broth, I use either unbleached cheesecloth or natural coffee filters in a pasta strainer to get out the smaller pieces.

I like to use my Pampered Chef batter bowl since it has the measurements on the sides and has a pour spout. Just make sure to make on the bag how many cups of broth you have in it. I have also seen that you can freeze in ice cube trays for small amounts but haven't done that yet. I usually freeze in one cup amounts, 4 cups and 8 cups.

You can actually save the carcass and use it another time to make broth!

Here are some of my favorite recipes using the broth, which one would you like to try?
Potato (Cauliflower?) Soup
Chicken and Rice Soup
Gluten Free Slippery Noodle Pot Pie

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