Turkey With Cranberry Brine (includes A Simple Gravy Recipe As Well)
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Why I Love This Recipe
I love brining my turkey during the holidays. In my opinion, turkey always tastes best with a dab of cranberry sauce on it, so I decided to to include that wonderful taste in a brine. The results were better then I had hoped for. This recipe includes the brine, turkey preparation, and instructions for a simple gravy.
Ingredients You'll Need
16 lbs turkey
2 medium onions, roughly diced
5 stalks celery, roughly chopped
5 medium carrots, roughly chopped
14 garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed
6 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 sprigs fresh sage
12 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cup kosher salt
2 quarts cranberry juice
1 apple, cut into wedges
1 orange, cut into wedges
6 ounces fresh cranberries (half a bag. You can use the rest in your cranberry sauce)
1/4 lb butter, cut into pats
24 hours in advance, wash the turkey and remove the neck and giblets from the cavity and neck; reserve for broth.
Mix together in a large pot 1 of the onions, 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots, 6 garlic cloves, peppercorns, 3 sprigs each of the rosemary, thyme and sage, 6 sprigs of the parsley, kosher salt and the cranberry juice; heat and stir until the salt dissolves and mixture begins to simmer; remove and let cool to room temperature.
Place turkey in a very large pot or turkey bucket and pour brine over to submerge, adding cold water if needed; refrigerate 24 hours.
Remove turkey from brine and rinse well; dry with paper towels. (It will be a lovely shade of pink but don't worry, it roasts a beautiful mahogany color).
Season turkey cavity with salt and pepper.
place 2 stalks chopped celery, 2 chopped carrots, apple, orange, cranberries, and 4 garlic cloves inside cavity.
Make a nest of 1 med chopped onion, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 chopped carrot, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 3 sprigs each rosemary, thyme and sage, 6 sprigs parsley and 3 bay leaves in a large roasting pan.
Place turkey on top of the vegetables and herbs.
Put butter pats on the turkey or between the skin and breast meat.
Roast in a 350 degree (175 celsius) oven for 45 minutes.
While turkey roasts the first 45 minutes, prepare a broth by placing the giblets in 5 cups of water; simmer to create turkey stock adding more water as needed; remove giblets. (You can chop the giblets and remove the meat from the neck and add it to your stuffing or discard it if you don't wish to use it. You can skip the turkey stock step and use canned chicken stock if desired. You will need 5 cups).
After the first 45 minutes of roast time, pour half of the stock over the turkey; roast another 45 minutes and pour the remaining stock over the turkey.
Continue to roast your turkey; basting with the juices from the bottom of the pan until the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165 to 175 degrees (74 to 80 celsius).
Remove from the oven and tent with foil; allow to rest for 10 or 15 minutes before carving.
Strain and use the liquid in the bottom of your roasting pan to make gravy and to moisten your stuffing if desired.
Discard herbs from the bottom of the roasting pan and measure out 1 cup of the vegetables and 3 cups of the juices; puree in a blender. To thicken, add more vegetables, to thin, add more pan juice. Pour through a mesh strainer to make a smooth gravy