D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 4

It’s Day 4 of our Turkey Day guide! And the home-stretch of Turkey Roasting 101. S0 – the bird is now perfectly roasted and ready to come out of the oven. You have already cleared a safe place for it, with surfaces protected if necessary from the intense heat of the roasting pan. Your cutting board with juice trough, sheet pan or warmed platter are situated close by………. uh… now what?!

Turkey Roasting Basics, Part 4

Give the Bird a Breather… Finally, it is time for a good rest. Unfortunately, that rest is for the bird, not for you. After the turkey is through cooking, remove it from the oven, and transfer it to the waiting board, pan or warmed platter. Then place it in a warm place (out of the way of any drafts) to allow it to ‘rest’ with the dressing still inside. Do not just place it on a flat cutting board. If that is your only alternative, place the board on a towel with a margin of towel exposed completely around the board. The extra juices may not be apparent at this point, but come as the bird rests, and if it is a lot of juice, you do not want to be scrambling around trying to save it, or cleaning up a mess. Transferring the bird will also free up the roasting pan for making gravy or a deglazing sauce.

Without elaborating on the kitchen science of ‘resting’, know that this allows the juices to settle back into the meat, and the meat to firm up enough for proper carving. Remove the tent if you were using one during cooking, and do not otherwise cover the bird so that the rising heat and moisture do not steam or soften the crispy skin. Depending on the size of the bird, give it at least 20 minutes or so. It is better to let the turkey get a little cooler, than rushing it and having the juices run from the meat.

Don’t Rinse that Pan… The next order of oven roasting business is to attend to all of the fat, browned tasty bits and congealed cooking juices that have accumulated in the roasting pan. You will use this as a fondor base for flavoring your gravy. There are at least two different methods to do this.

With the first method, you drain most of the fat from the roasting pan, and use the remaining pan drippings to make the gravy right in the roasting pan.This results in a rich and delicious, more home-style gravy with little, tasty bits from the pan. The second method calls for deglazing the roasting pan with a liquid that will contribute to the taste of the fond such as a dry French vermouth, a dry white wine or some of your stock. You then simmer this deglazing mixture in a saucepan for several minutes. The resulting intensely flavored sauce is your fond. Both methods rely on turkey stock, which is another type of fond, as the hearty foundation and primary liquid for the gravy.

Basic Deglazing Sauce… To deglaze your roasting pan you will need to have your deglazing liquid prepared and ready. You can use a cup or so of one of the liquids just mentioned, or whatever liquid and amount called for in your gravy recipe. To begin, skim the excess fat from the pan and reserve. Now heat the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat, and use a long handled wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan as it is heating to prevent scorching or burning. Most roasting pans are large enough that this requires using two burners at one time.

Once the pan is heated, carefully pour the liquid into the pan, and simmer for a minute or two as you continue scraping the bottom of the pan to gather all the bits, and congealed juices into the deglazing liquid. When most or all of the bits have released from the bottom of the pan and the congealed juices have liquefied, pour this mixture into a heavy saucepan.

Simmer this flavorful brown mixture for several more minutes, at least long enough to cook off the alcohol if applicable, and reduce the sauce to some degree, skimming any fat that rises in the process. Pass this deglazing sauce through a sieve with or without a cheesecloth lining, and your fond is ready to use according to your gravy recipe. Use this link to our articles on the basics of making a brown turkey stock and how to use it along with this deglazing sauce to make delectable pan gravy.

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