Brined, Roasted Turkey
Happy almost Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm so excited to hear what you guys will be having for Thanksgiving and what you lovely people will be cooking. Be sure to send me photos via Facebook/Instagram or tag Dash of Hang!
How many of you will be cooking the turkey this year? My coworker and I were exchanging methods on cooking turkeys ranging from roasting to deep frying, dry rub to brine, butter to oil. Everyone has their own spin on what it takes to cook this incredulous beast. For those of you who don't, let me share my little recipe.
I've been using this very recipe for a handful of years now and it's gotten me through every single Thanksgiving, even the ones requiring me to cook two turkeys in a row. Also once I got the hang of it, I was running around like a turkey with my head chopped off. Haha, okay, guess that was a lame pun.
OH!! Please remember to take the innards out of the turkey. The first year I cooked the turkey, I didn't realize how long it would take to defrost. So when it came time to brine the turkey, my turkey was still frozen solid. So I'm washing it out in the sink and trying to stick my hand up its behind, but it was so cold that my hand went numb and I couldn't feel a thing. Well, I got annoyed and just started the brining process, which you'll see in the recipe requires flipping it halfway through. So right before I'm about to flip the turkey in the brine, I heard a little sloshing inside. My overactive mind thought that there was something ALIVE in my turkey. Don't even know how that makes any sense, clearly I was delusional. Lo-and-behold, it was a white baggie with gooey innards. That was my lesson in always checking for the bag of innards. Now that you've been properly warned, good luck and happy feasting!
1 (16-24 lbs.) turkey
2 cup salt
2 cup brown sugar
3 oranges, quartered
3 lemons, quartered
10 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
turkey neck and giblets
2 large yellow onions, cut into eighths
2 oranges, cut into eighths
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
5 cups chicken stock/chicken broth
5 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
3 to 4 cups turkey broth, for basting
6 cups turkey broth
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
dash of salt and black pepper
Remove neck, giblets, and liver from inside the turkey. Usually these will be inside a little baggie for you already. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water.
Brine: In a heavy-duty garbage bag, large stockpot, or brining bag, combine salt and sugar in 4 gallons of cold water. Add oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. Soak turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for 6-24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Remove turkey from brine, rinse under cold running water. Using paper towels, pat dry inside and out. Rub all sides with butter, the butter will stick better if the turkey is dry. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
Stock: In a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan. Saute until slightly browning, about 1 minute. Add chopped vegetables and bay leaves to the pan. Saute until soft, approximately 2-3 minutes. Pour in stock and water, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for about an hour. Add the chopped liver into the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Strain stock into a clean container. Set aside the neck and giblets.
Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for an hour. This is best done as the stock is simmering.
Remove turkey from oven, turn the turkey. Baste the turkey with 1/2 cup of stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the largest section of the thigh. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 cup broth. This should take approximately 4-5 hours.
Remove turkey from oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before craving.
Gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a measuring cup, skim off excess fat. Place roasting pan on the stove, should cover 2 burners. Over medium heat, add the pan juices, 1 cup of turkey broth, and dry white wine. Stir to scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 5 cups of broth, bring to a simmer and pour into a container.
Gravy (cont.): In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour to make a light roux. Pour in stock from step 9, stirring constantly as to well-combine the roux and broth.* Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with turkey.
*Add the reserved turkey neck and giblets to the gravy if you would like the added flavor. I have family members who enjoy snacking on them, so I usually set it aside for them.