Steaming Turkey

Like braising and stewing, steaming is a moist heat cooking method that results in tender and flavorful turkey through the use of steam. Unlike braising and stewing, the meat is not actually placed in heated liquid, but is suspended above it. The meat is placed on a collapsible steaming basket, which is lowered into a pan and positioned above water that has been brought to a low boil. The unique construction of the basket allows the turkey to be suspended above the water level. Pots and pans designed specifically for steaming, which contain inserts for holding the food in place, are also available.

The steaming process is the same with both types of equipment: as the water boils, the steam rises and surrounds the meat with heat and moisture, cooking the meat until it is tender. It is best to use smaller cuts of turkey for steaming such as thinly sliced portions of the breast or thigh meat. Large turkey pieces, such as full legs or breasts do not fit well in the steaming basket.

To begin the process, the turkey pieces are trimmed and cut into the desired sizes.
Prior to steaming, the turkey pieces can be marinated with any variety of ingredients that are desired before being transferred to the steaming basket.
When the turkey pieces are in place, the steaming basket is lowered into a pan of gently boiling liquid. A variety of liquids can be used such as meat stock, vegetable stock, fruit juices, or simply water. The basket allows the turkey to remain above the level of the boiling liquid.
When the water returns to a low boil, the pan should be covered.
The cooking process is complete when the turkey pieces are opaque and the juices run clear. The timing varies according to the number and size of the pieces that are being steamed. The slices of breast meat shown in the picture at the right required about 15 minutes to cook to the proper doneness.
Steaming is one of the most healthful cooking methods because no additional fat is necessary to cook the turkey. The turkey retains most of the beneficial nutrients because they do not leach out as is the case when meat is placed directly in water. Steaming is a cooking method often used for many Asian recipes.

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