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Citrus-Stuffed Herbed Turkey

No recipe image available.A bounty of protein and potassium. Recipe from the book, The Healthiest Meals on Earth by Johnny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.

Recipe Ingredients:

Brining Solution:
You will need 2 to 3 gallons (8 to 12 L) of brining solution for an 18- to 20-pound (8- to 9-kg) turkey.
Per gallon (4 L) of water:
1 cup (300 g) sea salt or kosher (not table salt)
1/2 cup (170 g) raw honey
2 teaspoons (4 g) finely grated lemon peel, optional
2 teaspoons (4 g) orange peel, optional
1/2 tablespoon cardamom pods, optional
1 teaspoon dried thyme, optional

1 18 to 20-pound (8 to 9-kg) free-range, not self-basting, turkey
8 sprigs each of fresh rosemary (young and tender, not woody), sage, and thyme (or other herbs of your choice), rinsed and lightly dried (should total 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups or 55 to 90 g when coarsely chopped)
2 shallots, peeled and halved
1 whole head garlic, peeled and crushed
1 lemon
1 orange
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, or 55 g) butter, softened
2 tablespoons (28 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup (120 ml) sherry

Cooking Directions:

  1. Starting with 2 gallons (8 L) of water, mix the brining solution in your roasting pan by combining all ingredients in correct proportions and stirring until the salt and honey are dissolved.
  2. Rinse the turkey in plain water and pat it dry. Place the turkey in a lobster pot or large stockpot. (You can also use a plastic bucket if you line it with 2 or 3 clean garbage bags.) Pour in the brining solution to cover the turkey. If you need more brine to completely immerse the turkey, mix up another gallon. Place the turkey in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse very well under running water to remove all the brine, and dry thoroughly, including the cavity.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, gas mark 6).
  4. Stem and coarsely chop the herbs, setting aside about three-quarters of them (2/3 to 1 cup or 40 to 60 g herbs). Mince the remaining one-quarter (about 1/2 or 30 g) and put into a medium bowl. Add the shallots and garlic.
  5. Quarter but do not peel the lemon and orange and squeeze them gently to make a little juice, tossing the fruit and juice together with the herb mixture.
  6. In a small bowl, using your hands, mix the butter with the oil until creamy. Moving carefully so as not to puncture the skin, work your hand between the turkey skin and the breast as far as you can go to create a pocket over both breasts. Smear half of the butter-oil mixture over the breasts, covering as much meat as you can reach. Place half of the reserved, coarsely chopped herbs in each pocket (on top of each breast). Do this carefully and when complete, gently reshape (from the outside) the herb "pouches" above each breast to look rounded and smooth. Salt and pepper the inside of both cavities and stuff them with the fruit and herb mixture. Tuck the wings behind the back, tuck the skin folds over the cavities to close, and truss the legs. Smear the entire bird with the remaining butter-olive oil mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slowly pour the sherry inside of the breast pockets, working it around to the leg joints.
  7. Place a V rack inside of a roasting pan and cover it with foil. Poke about 15 holes into the foil. Place the turkey on the V rack, breast side down. Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (170°C, gas mark 3). Turn the turkey bird breast side up, baste (you can supplement the juices with a few tablespoons of sherry if you wish), cover with foil, and continue to cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours more, depending on the size of the turkey.
  8. Remove the foil to brown the breast and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the thickest part of the breast and innermost parts of thighs and wings register 165°F (74°C) on a meat thermometer. (When the turkey is done, the legs should roll loosely on the joint, and the leg juices should run clear.)
  9. Let the turkey rest on a cutting board for about 20 minutes before carving.

Yield: For turkeys weighing more than 12 pounds, allow 1/2 to 3/4 pound (225 to 340 g) per person, so an 18-pound (8-kg) turkey can serve between 24 to 36 people.

Safety First: The Food Safety and Inspection Service recently changed the recommendations for how high a temperature cooked poultry should be cooked to. Previously, experts recommended cooking whole turkeys to 180°F (82°C) and turkey breasts to 170°F (77°C). The new cooking recommendation is 165°F (74°C) for both. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a meat thermometer.

Source: The above is an excerpt from the book The Healthiest Meals on Earth by Johnny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. Published by Fair Winds Press; July 2008;$24.95US/$27.50CAN; 978-1-59233-318-9; Copyright © 2008 Johnny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. Submitted by FSB Associates.

Author Bio: Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S, is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. He's a board-certified nutrition specialist with a master's degree in psychology, a life coach, motivational speaker, and former personal trainer with six national certifications. His most recent book is the much-praised The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth. His book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising Truth about What You Should Eat and Whyhas been endorsed by a virtual who's who in the world of integrative medicine and nutrition, including Mehmet Oz, M.D., Christiane Northurp, M.D., and Barry Sears, Ph.D.

Note: The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.