This Thanksgiving, I decided to try a new recipe. This one I found in a blog, much like mine, and the author wrote that he/she had been cooking the turkey this way for 16 years and it was delicious. You can get their recipe here:
I decided to do my own version of it, and since my turkey was small and I happened to have large roasting bags, I took the marinade recipe and put it in the bag with the turkey (I added about a tsp of salt) and allowed it to marinate overnight in the plastic bag with the cognac milk mixture.
When it was time to roast the turkey, I added more salt and pepper to the skin, and rubbed it with softened butter. As the recipe indicates, I basted the turkey with the cognac mixture but I did not want to use the pan drippings for a gravy base. Instead, I improvised and made the gravy from scratch by browning whatever came inside the cavity. I expected all the giblets but my turkey only had a neck and another piece of meat that may have been an organ. Since it did not look too suspicious, I used it.
I cut the neck into pieces and browned it in a 12 inch saute pan for maximum browning. This created the fond. When all the pieces of meat were brown, I added a little oil and sauteed a mirepoix of shallots, celery and carrots (about 1/2 cup altogether) and once the vegetables were soft, I added some broth to clean up all the good stuff at the bottom of the pan. I simmered the whole thing for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, I melted 3 tbsp butter in my All Clad saucier, and added 3 tbps of flour to make a roux. As per Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, you have to make sure you cook the flour in the butter otherwise the gravy will taste of raw flour. I added more broth and strained the turkey neck mixture. Seasoned it with salt and pepper and tasted it… It needed something. I added 1/2 tsp of sugar and voila… Lovely gravy The rest of the meal consisted of traditional sides such as mashed potatoes, bread stuffing (or dressing), roasted acorn squash, green ba eans with almonds and of course cranberry sauce.
My guests were delighted. The turkey was golden brown, juicy and tender and it did not have a strong taste of cognac. I definitely recommend this recipe. It is no mess no fuss and it turns out a delicious bird.