Without a doubt, our favorite food holiday of the year! Turkey is a great protein for use on the Genesis Health Solutions Weight Loss Program, but not just any turkey will do. As the centerpiece of your table, a pastured bird raised on organic feed is worth the investment. Avoid factory raised turkey raised on antibiotics and injected with solutions like vegetable oils and enhancers. Locally raised turkeys from Our Father’s Farmin Gretna, VA, provide the perfect healthy alternatives for your holiday season.
FOR THE TURKEY BROTH
This broth can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge or even earlier and frozen up to 6 months until ready for its use. I like to make mine early to free up time during Thanksgiving week. This recipe is a favorite adapted from epicurious.com.
4 lbs. organic, pastured turkey wings and necks
2-3 Tbs. avocado, macadamia nut or virgin organic coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large organic carrot, chopped
1 large organic celery stalk with leaves, chopped
3 springs fresh thyme
6 springs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Break wings at the joints or chop into chunks. Lightly grease wings and necks with oil and spread in a large roasting pan, roasting approximately 45 minutes or until nice and brown.
While the bones are roasting, heat oil in a 6-quart stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook about 10 minutes or until soft. stirring occasionally. Add necks and wings along with any pan juices and reduce heat to low.
Place the roasting pan over 1-2 burners on the stovetop until the brown bits in the pan start to sizzle. Add 2 cups cold water and bring to a boil, scraping up the bits with a whisk or spoon. (They will add amazing flavor to your broth.) Pour into pot and add enough cold water to cover all at the ingredients by one inch (approx. 14 cups). Bring to a boil on high, skimming the foam from the surface. Add parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 3 hours, adding water as needed to keep wings covered.
Pour stock through fine-mesh sieve into large stainless steel bowl or line with cheesecloth, discarding the solids. If using immediately, let stand until yellow fat rises to surface, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard fat. If not using immediately, place bowl in the sink filled with iced water, about 1/2-2/3 of the way up the bowl. Let stand, changing ice water as it warms, until stock has cooled. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, then scrape off and discard fat. This will be plenty for the gravy as well as extra for use in other dishes or to freeze.
FOR THE TURKEY BRINE
Brines are a perfect way to ensure a tender and juicy turkey. This recipe is
enough to cover a 10-16 lb. turkey.
1 large, sturdy food-grade oven bag or brining bag
1 large non-reactive stock pot or cooler
1 gallon cold water and 1 gallon (16 cups) ice
1 cup kosher salt
2 oranges, cut into 8ths
2 lemons, cut into 8ths
6 springs fresh thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
1-1/2 tsp. allspice berries
To make the brining solution, add salt and sugar to 1 gallon of filtered
water in a large stockpot, heated on the stovetop just until salt and sugar
are dissolved. Add ice to cool down. Add the remaining ingredients and
Place the turkey into the brining bag, breast side down, and place into a
cooler, 5 gallon bucket or large stock pot. Pour brine over the turkey, being
sure to fill the cavity. Pull the bag up to tie it closed, leaving little air.
This will ensure the entire turkey is covered.
If you have a larger turkey and need more brine, add 1/2 cup of kosher salt
for an extra gallon of water.
Place the turkey in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. When done, rinse well
and discard the brine and bag.
FOR THE TURKEY
1 (10-12 pound) organic, pastured turkey (serves 8-10)
4 Tbs. Kerry Gold butter (room temperature)
1 yellow onion, cut into 8ths
1 organic celery stalk, cut into large chunks
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
1 orange, cut into 8ths
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper
2 cups of organic chicken or turkey stock/broth for basting (you can make your own, above, or purchase it)
Remove the neck giblets and liver from the turkey cavity. (You can use them in the turkey broth.) Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water and let sit out about an hour to reach room temperature.
If you are using the brine, soak the turkey in the brine for 12-24 hours then rinse well with cold water and bring to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, inside and out. Rub butter on all sides of the turkey. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaf and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. (You can simply roast the turkey without stuffing it at all, as well. Just rub with butter and season.)
Place the turkey breast side up on a flat rack (crunch up balls of aluminum foil for the turkey to sit on if you don’t have a rack) in a shallow roasting pan (an aluminum one is fine) - 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Tuck the wings back to hold the neck skin in place. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh without touching the bone. Place your turkey in the oven. When the turkey is about ⅔ done or getting brown, loosely cover the breast with a piece of foil to prevent overcooking. Your turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer is 180°F in thigh and 165°F in breast or stuffing. Lift turkey onto platter, and let stand for 20 minutes before carving. Discard the stuffing.
A stuffed 10-12 lb. turkey will take approx. 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 hours. If you choose not to stuff your turkey, it will take approximately 3 hours. Times vary slightly.
FOR THE TURKEY GRAVY
On the Genesis Health Solutions Weight Loss Program, flours and other thickening starches are not permitted. We use a thickener called Glucomannan. It is a powder derived from the Konjac root, and is a dietary, water-soluble fiber similar to pectin. It has been used widely in East Asia for over 2000 years, and known for its positive effects on constipation, weight loss in adults and children, type 2 diabetes, blood sugar control, and lowering cholesterol.
5 cups turkey broth (see above)
4 Tbs. Kerry Gold butter
1-2 tsp. Glucomannan Pure powder - not capsules (Now brand
available at Health Nut in Wyndhurst; Nutribio at GNC-both
$20) Make sure there are no other ingredients, but is pure.
Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
For the gravy, pour the turkey pan juices into a glass measuring cup and skim off the fat. Place the roasting pan on two burners over medium heat, adding back in the pan juice and 2 cups turkey broth to deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom. Transfer broth to a large heavy saucepan, adding an additional 3 cups of turkey broth. Place 1 tsp. of glucomannan in a small cup. Slowly add cold water, stirring constantly, until it dissolves. (Never add the powder directly into your hot broth or it will clump!) Add to the broth and heat on medium-high, stirring constantly. Glucomannan will thicken as it heats up (not when cold), so once your broth is hot, let it sit for a couple of minutes before you add more thickener.
(Recipes call for anywhere between 1/2-1 tsp. of glucomannan per 2 cups of liquid. You can always make and add more, if needed. If you add too much and your gravy is too thick, add more broth.)
Add butter to gravy and stir until melted. Sea salt and pepper to taste.