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Michael Voltaggio’s Sous Vide Turkey

In this recipe by Chef Michael Voltaggio, turkey pieces are first cooked using the sous vide method. Then the fully cooked breasts and drumsticks are deep-fried, and the thighs quickly seared, just before serving. The turkey can be cooked in the sous vide circulator for up to four days in advance; refrigerate in the vacuum-sealable bags.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 gallons water
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup allspice berries
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 each grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes, halved and juiced, rinds reserved
  • 1 turkey, 10 to 12 lb., cut into bone-in pieces (half breasts, thighs and drumsticks)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 fresh sage sprigs
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • About 1 1/2 cups duck fat
  • Canola oil for deep-frying, plus 1 Tbs.

Directions:

In a large stockpot over high heat, combine the water, spices, salt and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the citrus juices and rinds. Refrigerate the brine until thoroughly chilled. Place the breasts and drumsticks into the cold brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. (Refrigerate the thighs separately; do not brine.)

Prepare a sous vide immersion circulator for use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat the water to 150°F, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Cut the bone out from the thighs, keeping the skin intact. Season the inside of the thighs with salt and pepper. Place the thighs, skin side down, into a vacuum-sealable bag, making sure they lie flat. Add the sage, thyme and garlic to the bag. Using a large tablespoon, place 1/4 cup duck fat around the thighs. Using a vacuum sealer, vacuum and seal the bag tight according to the manufacturer’s instructions; be sure you have a smooth, airtight seal. Carefully place the bag into the circulating water and cook for 2 1/2 hours.

During the first 30 minutes of cooking the thighs, remove the breasts and drumsticks from the brine. Rinse the pieces and pat dry. Place each half breast and drumstick into separate vacuum-sealable bags; add 1/4 cup duck fat to each bag. Using a vacuum sealer, vacuum and seal the bags as instructed above. Place the bags into the circulating water and cook for 2 hours. (The thighs, breasts and drumsticks should be done at the same time.) Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Remove all the bags from the circulating water and place into the ice water for 20 minutes.

Just before serving, preheat oil in a deep fryer to 375°F. Remove all of the turkey pieces from the bags and pat dry. Working in batches, fry the breasts and drumsticks until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes per piece. Transfer to a carving board.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 1 Tbs. oil. Place the thighs, skin side down, in the pan and cook until golden and crispy, about 12 minutes. Turn the thighs over and cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Slice the breasts and thighs and arrange on a platter with the drumsticks. Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe from Chef Michael Voltaggio.