Saturday, January 8, 2011

The 12 recipes of Christmas - Part 2

Traditionally, we make two different meats at Christmas: turkey, of course, and usually beef. This year was no exception, except for the fact that both of them were awesome (if I do say so myself). Usually, there is something wrong with at least one - overcooked, undercooked, bad choice of some preparatory measure. Not this year. I guess my new philosophy - Yummy, Easy, Primal - is giving me more time to focus on the important parts.

All I can say is there's a reason it starts with mmm...!

Roast beef
1 tb fennel seeds
2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp orange zest
1 tb olive oil
5-6 lb boneless rib roast
Crush fennel seeds with a mortar & pestle, a few at a time. Mix seeds with other spices. Rub meat with olive oil, then with spice mix. Cook on rotisserie, checking temp with meat thermometer at 2 hours (should be rare). Take out when meat is about 10 degrees short of desired doneness and rest on counter about 20 minutes to finish cooking before slicing. Serve with horseradish cream sauce.
Horseradish cream sauce: Stir together sour cream and horseradish in 2:1 ratio. Top with fresh ground pepper and chives or parsley.

New (for me) technique: dry-brining. Thank you Martha Stewart!
16-18 lb turkey
10 bay leaves, crushed - plus
     4 bay leaves, whole
1/2 c kosher salt
Oven bag
4 tb (1/2 stick) butter, softened - plus
     8 tb (whole stick) butter
Spices to taste: fresh ground pepper, rubbed sage, orange zest
1 c white wine
To brine: Combine crushed bay leaves with salt. Remove neck and giblets from thawed turkey. Rinse, drain and pat dry. Rub 1 tb salt mixture inside cavity. Rub remainder of mixture all over outside of bird, taking care to coat skin well, including in leg folds. Place turkey in oven bag and tie shut, squeezing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before putting in oven, then remove from oven bag and rinse brine from inside and outside turkey.
To roast: Stuff bird and place on roasting pan, tying legs with kitchen string if needed. Rub turkey skin with softened butter, season with spices and roast at 425 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt whole stick butter with wine and whole bay leaves. About a half an hour after the turkey went into the oven, lower temp to 350 and baste with wine mixture. Continue basting and rotating turkey every 30-45 minutes, tenting with foil once skin browns. Check for doneness after 4 hours. Let rest out of oven 20-30 minutes before carving.

PS - Yes, I made stuffing, and it was from scratch (sort of, I didn't make cornbread myself like I usually do). No, it wasn't primal, and I didn't eat it! And there was gravy...I don't like gravy and I always pawn that off on someone who looks bored.

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