In just a couple weeks one of my favorite holidays is coming up and as much as I completely dislike cooking on Thanksgiving and Christmas I love to cook. Special occasions and all that jazz.
I have been considering my menu for this year. I think I want to try something new, a brined turkey breast, debating between Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing and Sage Stuffing, your classic Green Bean Casserole, homemade pan rolls, sour cream mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie from one of the local bakeries and a 2008 Terra Noble Pinot Noir Reserva.
So which stuffing would you make if you were me? I am leaning towards the mushroom stuffing but the kids aren't exactly partial to mushrooms.
I am also seeking your recipes for some of your favorite Thanksgiving appetizers.
Brined Turkey Recipe:
* 15 lbs turkey (not self Basting or kosher)
* 2 cups table salt (do not substitute equal amounts of kosher salt)
* 2 gallons icy cold water (*)
* 4 cups brown sugar
* 1/2 cup dried rosemary leaves
* 1/2 cup dried thyme, leaves
* 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
* 1 carrot, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks
* 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
* 4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Rinse turkey in cool water.
2. In a very large clean container (non-corrosive pan or stockpot such as stainless steel or glass or a food-grade plastic container), mix salt and water together until salt dissolves. Stir in brown sugar and spices, mix well until sugar dissolves.
3. Totally submerge poultry in solution and store, covered, in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours. Since brining does not preserve meat, the turkey must be kept below 40 degrees F throughout the entire brining process. Ice packs may also be used to keep turkey at a safe temperature of below 40°F.
4. Remove turkey from brine. Discard brine. Thoroughly rinse turkey under a slow stream of cool water, rubbing gently to release salt and sugar, both inside and out. Pat skin and both interior cavities dry.
5. *NOTE: The ratio of water to salt is appropriate for a 15-pound turkey. If a larger or smaller turkey is brined, please calculate accordingly.
6. *NOTE: Other combinations of herbs may be added including 6-8 bay leaves, 3 cloves garlic and 2 teaspoons black peppercorns. Or a spicy flavor may be achieved by the addition of 1 cup small dried red chile peppers.
7. In the cavity of turkey, place onion, carrot and celery.
8. Brush turkey with melted butter.
9. Roast turkey, breast side down, in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 2 hours. During this time, baste legs and back twice with melted butter.
10. Remove turkey from oven and protecting your hands, grasp turkey with several layers of clean paper towels at both ends, and turn turkey, breast side up.
11. Return turkey to oven and continue to roast, basting twice with pan dripping. Continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 170°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh. NOTE: A brined turkey cooks slightly faster than an unbrined turkey, so check the internal temperature frequently.
12. Remove turkey from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
13. Transfer to a platter and garnish with fresh fruit.
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