RJ Cooper's Tips: A Turkey Dissected
Chef RJ Cooper of Vidalia – Washington, D.C.
Adapted by StarChefs.com
October 2006

For the Breast:
Marinade the breasts in sealed Cryo-Vac bags with maple-apple cider herb brine and let stand for a few hours. Place in a Thermo-Circulator at 149°F for 3 ½ hours then shock in ice water. Cooking the breast sous vide ensures that it will stay moist. Afterwards roast the breast until the center is cooked and the skin is golden brown.

For the Leg:
Remove the leg and thigh bone and pull out any remaining nerves or cartilage. Make forcemeat with pork shoulder, turkey breast, sage, thyme and dried cranberries. Stuff the legs with the forcemeat and wrap with crepinette. Tie with butchers twine.

In a large heavy-bottom sauté pan render the crepinette until golden brown over medium heat, then place the legs on a rack-lined sheet pan with aromatics and roast in a low oven until the internal temperature reaches 140°F. Allow to cool.

For the Wings:
Remove the wings from the breast. Remove the top joint and the drumette from the center of the wing. Confit the center part of the wing with garlic, herbs and duck fat. Once the meat is tender, remove and cool.

Remove the flesh from the drumette; make a forcemeat with pork and the drumette meat. Add chopped truffles. Stuff the center wing with the pork and turkey mixture and wrap again with crepinette. Pan roast. Served with mushroom risotto, this is a luxurious way to use the wing as an appetizer.

For the Gizzards:
Cure the gizzards, hearts and neck for 24 hours in a dry marinade of salt and herbs. Place in rendered duck fat and confit until tender. Dice the gizzards and hearts, pick the neck meat, and reserve for the gravy.

Rissole the turkey carcasses with aromatics and chicken stock or water to cover. Simmer for 6 to 8 hours to make a rich turkey stock. Degrease and strain through cheesecloth and fine mesh sieve. Make a blond roux and thicken into a velouté with turkey stock. Add the gizzards and season.

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