Practice your butchering skills and make this quick to cook turkey with an outstanding cranberry-orange glaze.
This past Thanksgiving, I picked up 3 turkeys over 3 trips to the grocery store.
How can you pass up paying under 60 cents a pound for meat?
For the first two turkeys I used Alton Brown’s Dry Brined Turkey, which was purely amazing each time.
I wanted to try something different for the 3rd one as well as review another chef’s recipe.
Just after the New Year I pulled out of my turkeys out of it’s cold winters nap and broke out Giada’s recipe for a Cranberry-Orange Glazed Turkey.
The daunting task of this turkey was having to break down into pieces as the recipe calls for. But the fun part is getting to make a tasty, tangy glaze with cranberry and orange juice.
Below you will my notes from this recipe. You will find the recipe at the bottom, written in my own words.
Cut the Turkey Into Pieces
The recipe calls for an 11-pound bird. Mine was a little bit over 12. Anything in that ball park of 11 is good.
Much easier to work with a smaller turkey. I wouldn’t want to try to cut up a 22 pounder!
Cutting this thing was a challenge. I followed a YouTube video as I have never done it before.
As you can see from above I had a little trouble keeping all the skin attached to the breast meat.
In the end, I got all the pieces I wanted even if they weren’t perfect looking.
Unless your writing for a food blog, don’t worry about being perfect. This kind of thing takes practice. Or you could do what Giada did and have your butcher do the work for you. If you have access to such a butcher!
Quick Cooking Turkey
The recipe said to cook it for 1 hour 10 minutes before adding the glaze.
I decided to check the temperature after that time and I had already reached my thermal destination.
I applied the glaze with my favorite OXO silicone pastry brush and just put it back in for 5 minutes to solidify the glaze, brushing on some additional glaze when it came out.
What’s in the Glaze?
Here is what is called for in the glaze –
- Frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate
- Frozen orange juice concentrate
- orange marmalade
- chopped fresh rosemary
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
The recipe called for using cranberry juice cocktail, which isn’t 100% juice. I passed on went with Old Orchard Cranberry which isn’t 100% cranberry, it has cranberry juice in it mixed with some cheaper juice fillers (like apple juice). If you want to go with 100% cranberry you will probably need to sweeten it up for it to be palatable.
Double the Glaze
I decided to make a double batch of the glaze. With more than enough ingredients I thought why not?
I wanted to be sure I had enough glaze to add to the gravy without worrying about having to go light on the turkey. I still had some leftover in the end, good for freezing for another day.
The leftover orange and cranberry concentrate was used make a cran-orange juice.
How to Make the Gravy
To make the gravy, you use the pan juices. The challenge is that there is a lot of fat to deal with. If you own a fat separator, you can just pour the juices into that.
If you don’t own a fat separator try this
- Pour the juices directly from the sheet pan into a wide bowl that will fit in the freezer.
- Placed that bowl into the freezer for about 10 minutes. This helped to harden up the fat.
- Then get as much fat as you can off the top.
To finish the gravy, I took 1 cup of homemade giblet stock from my last turkey that I had froze. I melted it in a large non-stick frying pan.
Mixed in the pan juices, brought it all to a boil.
Then I added 3 tablespoons of the glaze. Allowed it to reduce for about 4 minutes. Added 1 tablespoon of butter for that creamy mouth feel.
Thoughts on this Recipe
The flavor of the turkey was outstanding. Not too sweet and not too tart.
The gravy was unlike anything I ever had. It had that great turkey flavor from the pan juices and stock, but it also the addition of the cranberry-orange glaze brought it to a whole another dimension.
The turkey itself wasn’t as juicy as the brined ones I have made. It wasn’t dry by any means thought and the unique gravy helps to compensate.
My family enjoyed experiencing a turkey with a different flavor.
Next Thanksgiving I will probably still do Alton’s method, but that isn’t a knock against Giada’s turkey, just a testament to how good Alton’s is.
The glaze itself I would use again. I think it would be good for just a turkey breast.
Or you could increase the amount, add a ton of salt to it, and make a brine instead.
Cranberry-Orange Glazed Turkey
- 11-12 pound whole turkey cut into it's pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chicken or turkey broth homemade if possible
- 1/2 cup frozen cranberry-apple juice concentrate
- 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Lay the turkey out on a sheet pan, place the pieces skin side up. Brush all over with oil. Sprinkle on kosher salt and pepper. Make sure the wings are in the middle of the pan.
- Roast for 1 hour and 10 mintues or until the internal temperature of the white meat is at 155.
- While the turkey cooks combine all the glaze ingredients minus the butter in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Set aside.
- Remove the turkey from the oven. Add the broth to the bottom of the pan.
- Brush the glaze all over the turkey. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons for the gravy. Return the turkey to the oven.
- Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until the white meat is at 165 and dark meat at 180.
- Transfer the turkey to a platter to rest while you make the gravy.
To make the gravy
- With a spatula break up all the bites stuck to the bottom of the sheet pan.
- Then carefully pour the liquid into a fat separator. If you don't have one pour into another vessel and skim off whatever fat you can after you let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the strained juices to pan. Add in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the leftover glaze.
- Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened to your liking.
- Slice the turkey and serve with the gravy.
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