Monday, November 19, 2012

Cider Brined Turkey

Do you have your menu planned for the big day?

We get to be with lots of relatives this Thanksgiving which is nice because we spread out the food assignments and no one has to make all of it.

My job this year is the pies.  Surprise, surprise I know.

But I also love to make the turkey.  Mostly because I HATE dry turkey.  I love it moist and juicy so it doesn't have to be slathered in gravy to get it down.

I think one of the biggest keys to a moist turkey is brining it.  There are lots of different ways to brine a turkey.  This recipe was fantastic. The flavor with all the fresh herbs and apple cider was an amazing combination.  The kids thought it was the best turkey we've had so far--which is a ringing endorsement from the non meat lover daughter I have.

Now hopefully the one on Thanksgiving Day will turn out just as good or better!

Cider Brined Turkey

(click here for printable version)

8 cups apple cider
2/3 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 tbsp whole allspice, coarsely crushed
8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
2 oranges, quartered
6 cups ice
Other ingredients:
4 garlic cloves
4 sage leaves
4 thyme sprigs
4 parsley sprigs
1 onion, quartered
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp butter, melted and divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided

1. To prepare brine, combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.

2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters. Place a turkey-sized oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey inside inner bag. Add cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

3. Preheat oven to 500ºF.  Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Brush turkey back with 1 tbsp butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 500º for 30 minutes.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn turkey over (breast side up) using tongs. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 170º (making sure not to touch the bone). (Shield the turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes before slicing and serving.  Enjoy!

Source: My Recipes
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