Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving is near

Last year was the first time that I had ever cooked a turkey or hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. I spent the entire week beforehand prepping, cooking, cleaning. Needless to say, it was a LOT of work. So, this year, while we are hosting Thanksgiving again, we're doing it more of a potluck style. However, after the rave reviews from last year, I will be making my turkey, gravy, and stuffing again. While I'm hesitant to share my recipes since I don't want everyone in the world making MY turkey, who am I to keep it from you? Besides, I got it off the Internet and everything is better when shared with friends, right?

Turn turkey naysayers into turkey lovers with this Cider-Brined and Glazed Turkey from Bon Appetit, November 2005.

4 quarts apple cider, divided
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup whole allspice
8 bay leaves
4 quarts cold water
1 20-pound turkey (neck and gizzard reserved)

Sage Broth
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, cut into 4 pieces
8 fresh sage leaves

2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup applejack brandy or Calvados
1/4 cup whipping cream

For brine:
Simmer 1 quart apple cider, salt, allspice, and bay leaves in 20-quart pot 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool completely. Add remaining 3 quarts cider and 4 quarts water. Place turkey in brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.Drain turkey and rinse. Arrange on several layers of paper towels in roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.

For broth:

Simmer all ingredients in large saucepan 30 minutes. Strain sage broth into bowl.

For glaze:
Boil cider in saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Whisk in butter. Cool completely.Set rack at lowest position in oven; preheat to 350°F. Remove paper towels from roasting pan. Pat main and neck cavities of turkey dry; stuff loosely with stuffing. Place turkey in pan, tuck wings under, and tie legs together loosely. Roast turkey 1 hour. Brush with some of glaze. Roast until beginning to brown, about 1 hour. Cover with foil. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, brushing with glaze every 30 minutes and adding up to 1 cup water to pan if drippings begin to burn, about 3 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes.

For gravy:

Pour pan juices into large measuring cup. Spoon off fat. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and degreased juices. Pour sage broth into roasting pan. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Combine flour, sage leaves, and reserved 3 tablespoons fat in heavy large saucepan; stir over medium heat 1 minute. Whisk in broth from roasting pan and reserved pan juices. Add applejack and cream and boil until gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain into sauceboat. Serve turkey with gravy.
Simmer all ingredients in large saucepan 30 minutes. Strain sage broth into bowl.

Also a Bon Appetit recipe (November 2003) is my family-award-winning Italian Sausage and Parmesan Cheese stuffing. I changed it up quite a bit, though.

12 cups 1/2-inch cubes french-sourdough bread (from two 14.5-ounce loaves)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian HOT sausages, casings removed (do yourself a favor and just buy the ground sausage)
3 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 cup low-salt chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bread is dry, about 15 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and sauté 5 minutes, breaking up with back of fork. Saute until cooked through. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage mixture to bowl with bread cubes. Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Add onions and next 4 ingredients; sauté until onions and celery are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add onion mixture to bread cubes. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix eggs and broth into stuffing; transfer to baking dish. Cover dish with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake until top begins to brown, about 20 minutes.


Christy said...

Shannon, I saw someone use a brine on TV recently. You rinse it off but it still flavors the turkey?

Ellen Seidman said...

Shannon, doll, if I were cooking the turkey I'd try these absolutely delicious-sounding recipes. But this year, mother-in-law's bringing the turkey. She often drives me nuts but she just might redeem herself with this gesture.