Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner

We are going very traditional this year with the standard issue items: 

·         Roasted Turkey & Gravy
·         Stuffing
·         Mashed Potatoes
·         Steamed Broccoli
·         Green Beans
·         Rolls & Butter
·         Cranberry Sauce
·         Pickles & Olives
·         Pumpkin Pie & Whipped Cream

We aren’t changing it up or trying anything new this year.  Sometimes there is something to be said for the old tried and true. 

We do brine our turkey overnight before we roast it and have done this for many years now.  For anyone who wants to try this it is a pretty simple process.  We love the flavor that it imparts into the bird, not to mention the gravy!  Oh my gosh the gravy! 

We brine our bird in our canner but you can also use a cooler.  Whatever you decide to use make sure it is nice and clean. 

On Sunday morning take your bird out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to begin defrosting.  I put mine on a jelly roll pan to catch any yuck. 

On Tuesday start your brine.  You will need a gallon of vegetable broth.  I make my own: 

Vegetable Broth 

In a large slow cooker place four unpeeled carrots, four stalks celery, on large onion quartered, two bay leaves, and a tsp dried rosemary.  Pour in one gallon of hot water and let it stew on high for four hours.  Remove vegetables and bay leaf.  Allow to cool and then chill overnight. 

On Wednesday evening finish your brine: 

Turkey Brine 

1 gallon vegetable broth
1 cup salt
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. black pepper 

Stir to thoroughly combine.  Add 1 gallon ice water (1/2 ice, ½ water).  Pour brine into canner.  Immerse turkey into brine breast side up.  Just before bedtime turn the turkey over so it is breast side down. 

You will need to keep the bird refrigerated throughout this process.  I leave the canner in the garage where it is plenty chilly but don’t do this if there is a chance it might freeze.  You won’t be very happy if you wake up to a solid block of ice. 

When you are ready to put the bird in the oven remove it from the brine and rinse it well.  Place it in your roasting pan uncovered and unstuffed.  Insert your electronic thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, at this time, if you have one.  Make sure you aren’t hitting a bone.  Turn the oven on to 500°.  Yes, really! 

Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Set the timer!  Then reduce to 350° and let it continue to roast until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 162°.  You will not cover the turkey at any time during this process.  It takes about 3 hours for an 18 to 20 pound turkey. 

Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.  It will continue to cook so don’t be alarmed if the temperature continues to rise at first. 

While the turkey rests you can use the drippings to make the most amazing gravy ever, get those potatoes mashed and warm up the rolls. 

If you decide to try this let me know what you think.

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