(A note about “Spotlight Ingredients”… Sunday is my favorite day of the week to cook. I’ll grill, broil, saute or bake the entire spotlight ingredient. That means that I could have a pork roast in the slow cooker or I could be frying a large quantity of pork chops. Whatever it may be, I will cook it all at once and then immediately reserve portions for the next two nights. To some people it may sound like leftovers, but it really is not when you consider you’ve just cooked the base for making three entirely different recipes in the following days.)
During the holidays it’s easy to find many choices at the grocery store for turkeys. You can buy turkeys fresh, wild, frozen, just the breast, just the legs and wings, and so on. During the rest of the year, you will most likely have to buy frozen turkeys and frozen turkey breasts.
If you choose to buy a frozen turkey, here are some tips on how to thaw a turkey:
In the refrigerator– Safely, turkey should defrost around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A refrigerator is the best place to thaw a turkey because the temperature stays regulated. But it can take about 4 days to thaw in the refrigerator, so you’ll need to plan accordingly. (plan about 24 hours for every 5 pounds.)
In cold water– You will thaw your turkey faster this way, but you’ll have to stay on top of changing the water every 30 minutes. The water needs to remain cold to safely bring the turkey to temp. You’ll still need to plan ahead, about 30 minutes of soaking in cold water per pound,
Yes, it can take time to thaw a turkey if you buy it frozen, but here is my time saving tip for you… when it comes time to cook the turkey, butterfly it. That means cut the backbone out and then flatten it so that it roasts evenly and more quickly. We roasted our 20 lb flattened turkey at 450 degrees for 2 hours! (Yes, we checked the temperature often, making sure that the breast meat was 150 degrees and the the thighs were at least 165 degrees.) This made the crispiest and juiciest turkey ever.