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Tips to make turkey guests will gobble gobble down

The turkey is the star of Thanksgiving and the easiest component to mess up. Overcook it and it's dry. Undercook it and you've got a pink disaster, both esthetically and health-wise.

There are many types of turkeys: fresh, frozen, kosher and heirloom, to name a few. And even more ways to cook the big bird: roast, grill, smoke, deep-fry. To brine or not to brine, that's the question, unless you are in the middle of a baste/no baste argument. .

When it all comes down to T-Day, the most crucial factor is to cook the turkey to the proper temperature. If you do this, no matter what type of turkey you've purchased, the meat should be delicious.

So buy yourself an instant-read thermometer — and use it. The turkey is done when the breast meat reaches 160 degrees and the dark meat is 165 degrees. Cooking continues for a few minutes after the turkey is removed from the oven, so if you take it out about 5 degrees shy of the mark, you should be good. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for about 30 minutes before carving. The following tips should help even more.

Tackling the turkey three ways

Fresh turkey: Remove a 12- to 14-pound turkey from its wrappings. Remove giblets from the bird's cavity. Wash the bird inside and out, if you wish. Drain; pat dry.

Season cavity with ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. (Loosely pack the bird with stuffing, if you like.)

Place the turkey in a roasting pan, preferably on a rack; roast in a 325-degree oven until thermometer inserted in thickest part of inner thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 3 to 3 ¾ hours. (When cooking stuffing inside the bird, make sure the stuffing reaches 165 degrees. A stuffed bird will take 3 ½ to 4 hours.)

Brush the glaze over the bird about 1 hour before it is scheduled to be ready. Glaze again 30 minutes later and then 15 minutes later. Remove turkey to a cutting board; let rest at least 15 minutes before carving.

Frozen turkey: Thaw the bird in its wrapping in the refrigerator. A 12- to 14-pound turkey will take three to four days to thaw. Place the turkey on a tray or pan to contain any liquid that may drip from the bird. For a faster thaw, submerge the bird in cold water and soak 6 to 8 hours, changing the water every 30 minutes.

Roast and glaze the turkey according to the directions given for a fresh turkey.

Ready-to-eat turkey: Even if you buy a complete Thanksgiving dinner from a supermarket or other source, the turkey will have to be heated. To do this, place the turkey in a roasting pan. Heat in 250-degree oven until hot, which can take up to 2 ½ hours, depending on the size. Read the directions that come with your package. Glaze the turkey according to the directions given for a fresh turkey. See accompanying glaze recipes, which will work on any type of poultry, not just turkey.

Information from the Chicago Tribune was used in this report.

>>EASY

Orange-Soy Turkey Glaze

The soy sauce in this glaze may encourage the turkey to brown too much. If you see that's about to happen, loosely tent aluminum foil over the bird.

¾ cup soy sauce

¾ cup orange juice

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, optional

2 teaspoons ground ginger

Combine the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high until the glaze has thickened and the brown sugar has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Brush it over the bird about 1 hour before it is scheduled to be done; repeat glazing 30 minutes later and then 15 minutes later.

Makes 2 cups.

Source: Times wires

>>EASY

Maple-Bourbon Turkey Glaze

Use pure maple syrup. If bourbon seems too daunting, try dark rum instead. The optional butter gives a luxurious oomph to the flavor.

1 cup maple syrup

¼ cup bourbon

2 tablespoons butter

Place maple syrup, bourbon and butter in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high to thicken the glaze slightly, 2 minutes.

Brush it over the bird about 1 hour before it is scheduled to be done; repeat glazing 30 minutes later and then 15 minutes later.

Makes 1 ½ cups.

Source: Times wires

>>EASY

Chipotle Turkey Glaze

Chicago chef Rick Bayless used this recipe on his television series, "Mexico: One Plate at a Time," to add verve to roasted peanuts. Buy a 7-ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican food aisle. Refrigerate or freeze leftover chipotles and sauce for use in another recipe.

6 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon salt

Juice of 3 limes

Place chipotles in a blender or food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of the adobo sauce from the can, brown sugar, ketchup, salt and lime juice. Puree until smooth.

Brush it over the bird about 1 hour before it is scheduled to be done; repeat glazing 30 minutes later and then 15 minutes later.

Makes 1 ½ cups.

Source: Times wires

Tips to make turkey guests will gobble gobble down 11/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 3:31am]

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