A scrumptious, moist, and well flavoured Turkey for any holiday.
Lean meat can be difficult to cook. A few minutes too long in the oven or on the stovetop and you have ruined tonight’s dinner, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas. And you know you must nail the turkey, as it is the main attraction at the Thanksgiving table. I have tried everything, from covering the meat with a foil tent, to basting and basting and basting, and nothing seemed to produce the kind of bird I wanted for Thanksgiving. Until I decided to try soaking it in a brine.
Brine is often a salt solution, or a salt and sugar solution, but you can add herbs of choice to introduce more exciting flavors. It works through the process of osmosis. Once you have prepared your brine you will soak your bird in it for the number of hours recommended for your bird’s size. Water particles will move from a region of lower concentration to a region of higher concentration. This means that the water moves from the turkey, into the brine solution. When a point of equilibrium is reached the water starts to move freely back and forth, in and out of the turkey, carrying in with it, the salt, sugar and/spices in the brine. Here’s what to do…
- 1 ½ Gallons chicken broth (at times I prefer stock, especially the kind you buy concentrated and dilute before use)
- 1 cup kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorn
- ½ tbsp. whole spice
- ½ candied ginger
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- dried herbs (use your favourite, as much as you like)
- fresh herbs ( your favorites again. I love mint, and I trust thyme and rosemary for all things)
- two onions halved
1. Boil the brine solution and cool whilst covered. (sugar, salt, peppercorn, dried herbs, broth)
2. Store in a cold place, up to two days before the day.
3. Several hours before you start cooking your bird, pour your brine into a large container and add lots of ice. Maybe the same amount as your brine.
4. Gently place the bird inside breast down
5. Leave it in a cool place for about 7 hours, turning it over about half way through the time.
6. Take out the bird from the brine well before time to throw it into the oven.
7. You want to dry your turkey, let all the excess water drip off before placing it into the oven.
8. Rub some melted butter and a bit of olive oil. This helps achieve the golden crispy brown look. Stuff inside with apple pieces, herbs, and onion.
9. Place on a baking tray, preferably a heavy one, with breast up
10. Place into the oven legs first. They need more time to cook so going to the back of the oven ensures they’re cooked well.
11. Cover with foil
12. Cook at 325 degrees for as long as your turkey’s size require. (Search the Internet for this. Most birds come with recommended time written on the packaging)
13. 20 minutes before taking it out, remove foil and let the bird brown nicely.
14. Bird is cooked well when internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.
15. After taking it out, let it stand a few minutes before carving