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Gallina de la tierra, that the way Christopher Columbus described a turkey, when he first saw one in 1502, after landing on the coast of Honduras. At the court of emperor Moctezuma, in Mexico, over a thousand turkeys were consumed each day. Imported into Spain in the following years, turkeys soon spread throughout Europe, where their meat was immediately appreciated. It seems that the word turkey is due to the Turkish merchants who first imported turkeys into England. Turkeys have been considered, in Europe, an ideal food for important celebrations since the mid-sixteenth century.
Rich in proteins, turkey meat helps you to renew your tissues and to produce hormones, enzymes and antibodies. It is particularly suitable for a well-balanced diet, as it is low in fats. Just like chicken and fish, turkey is therefore a good choice for your table!
Ingredients (serves 6 people)
1 14 to16-pound young turkey
1 gallon vegetable broth
1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
0.5 cups butter
bouquet of fresh thyme*
bouquet of fresh rosemary*
1 1/2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
1 gallon water, iced
* The term bouquet refers to the small grouping of individual branches sold in grocery stores.
Two to three days before roasting begin preparing the brine. Combine the broth, salt, sugar, peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, allspice and ginger in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate the brine. The night before your big feast, truss the legs of the turkey with kitchen twine, if desired. Combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon pot. Place the turkey, with innards and head removed, breast-side down in the brine. You can put a little weight on the turkey to keep it completely immersed.
Day of roasting: preheat the oven to 500 °F. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Let the turkey come to room temperature for at least 30 to 45 minutes before roasting. Discard the brine. Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and rub it with butter. Roast the turkey on the lowest rack of the oven for 30 minutes on Bake only. Reduce time if using Convection. While the turkey is cooking, fold and shape a double thickness of aluminum foil into a triangle, closely fitting breastplate. After 30 minutes, decrease the oven temperature to 350 °F, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and cook until the core temperature reaches 160 °F. Use the breastplate for the last hour of cooking. Remove from the oven, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and let the turkey rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Carve and celebrate!