Brine it, baste it, behold it: My Favorite Turkey-Part 2

Okay, so if you’ve brined your Turkey, you are so ready for Part 2.  If you choose not to brine, you can still follow this portion of the recipe.

The morning of Thanksgiving, remove your turkey from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours. My Mother, the public health nut, always panics when the turkey is sitting out and I have to restrict her access to the kitchen; but trust me, the 2 hours is okay. The turkey skin dries a little, the turkey warms up and it all plays into the fabulous end result.

With “drying”, cooking and post cooking standing time, you will need to allow 6 1/2 hours to get your bird ready to eat.

Brined Turkey
2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of white wine, I typically use a pinot grigio
Stuffing–if you stuff your bird OR if you prefer stuffing separate, one onion, halved
Large piece or two of cheesecloth

1. After your bird warms for 2 hours, preheat your oven to 425F.
2. Stir together melted butter and wine in a large bowl. Fold cheesecloth so that it is big enough to cover most of your turkey. Immerse the cheese cloth in butter mixture and soak it for a few minutes.
3. Place the turkey, breast side up on rack set in a roasting pan. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff with your stuffing OR onion. Tie the legs together with twine. Fold neck flap under and then rub the turkey with softened butter. Season the outside with salt and pepper.
4. Remove cheesecloth from butter mixture and wring out. Lay cheesecloth over turkey. Reserve butter mixture.
5. Place turkey, legs first in oven. Roast 30 minutes and baste the cheesecloth with reserved wine and butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350F
6. Roast and brushing every 30 minutes for another 2 1/2 hours.
7. Remove cheesecloth and baste with pan juices until a temperature reads 180F, about an hour.
8. Transfer to a plate or cutting board. Let turkey stand at least 30 minutes before carving.


Brine it, baste it, behold it: My Favorite Turkey-Part 1

Behold it!

This my favorite roast Turkey recipe. It has its roots in Martha Stewart (who I think should adopt me) and in my own brand of cooking alchemy.  This year will be my sixth year roasting this juicy, golden yummy piece of Thanksgiving heaven.

The brine has simple ingredients. The turkey is basted in butter and wine as it roasts–it is picture perfect and tastes beautifully as well.

Plan on ordering a fresh turkey from a local farm in early November. Or picking up your frozen turkey from the grocery store a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Pickings can be slim in the days right before the big day. A good rule of thumb is to provide 1 1/2 -2 pounds of turkey per person. If your turkey is frozen, start defrosting it early and allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.

Some things you need before you dive in–a brining bag or a super large stock pot that your turkey plus brine can fit in; space in your fridge for stock pot; cheese cloth; a roasting pan with a raised rack;  a silicon oven safe brush and a meat thermometer.

Brine it

Brine it!

Brining results in moist, flavorful meat. It works, apparently, through reverse osmosis and diffusion. I could pretend to fully understand this (this is why Nana needed Granddad and my Uncle Allan–for these techie issues), but I just know it works and the meat is tender, juicy and yummy. Cooks Illustrated has a fabulous explanation; just don’t get caught up in the fears of non-crispy skin–we will get to that later.

You will make the brine on Wednesday morning, let it cool, and then put the turkey in the brine and refrigerate until Thanksgiving morning.

Here’s what you need:

  • Your turkey–I usually get a 15-18 pounder. This recipe will work for more or less weight.; remove the giblets, save if you are into that and keep the tag from the turkey that lists the weight
  • 3 cups coarse salt
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 medium onions, skins on, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, leaves on, coarsely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Couple sprigs fresh thyme
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
Grab your enormous stock pot and put all ingredients (EXCEPT FOR THE TURKEY) in with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat, let the brine cool completely. 
Grab your bird and place the turkey breast first into the stock pot (or toss the whole caboodle in a brining bag) with the brine and cover (use the lid or plastic wrap). Place everything in the fridge for up to 24 hours.