Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roast Crisp-Skin Turkey (Edited)

I found it! My favorite recipe for brined turkey! It was stuffed in someplace really random, and now that I have it in hand I'm going to post it right away so all I have to do next year is head to my blog to find it. Phew!

This is the most fabulous recipe for brined turkey ever. I can't remember where it's from. I think my mom gave it to me as a newspaper clipping or something like that. I've tried other brining recipes before, all of them fancier than this one, but this is the one I like the best. It's just a simple brine (just salt, no sugar) - it's the method that makes it fabulous. After soaking the turkey in brine for a few hours, the turkey sits uncovered in the refrigerator for another several hours, which gives the skin a chance to dry out a bit so it will crisp when roasted. Then the turkey is basted and turned while roasting, which might seem like a pain in the rear but trust me, this produces a crispy skin all over the turkey. The brine keeps the turkey moist, not salty. It's just fabulous, worth every minute of preparation. And the gravy made from the drippings? To die for!

This recipe calls for a high-salt brine for a short soaking time. If it makes it easier for you to have a longer soaking time, cut the salt in half and double the time the turkey soaks in the brine. And now without further ado, here it is - the best brined turkey recipe ever. I'll post pictures as soon as I can. I don't stuff or truss my turkey, but you can if you wish!

Roast Crisp-Skin Turkey

12 - 14 pound turkey (not pre-basted, preferably fresh and minimally processed)

For the brine
4 cups kosher salt (or 2 cups table salt)
2 gallons cold water

For the pan
2 carrots, cut into large pieces
2 celery stalks with their leaves, cut into large pieces
2 large onions, cut into eighths
6 sprigs fresh parsley or thyme

For the herb baste
6 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried thyme (or 2 tsp. fresh minced thyme)
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Start the night before you cook the turkey. Combine the salt with the two gallons of water in a large pot (I use my canning pot) and stir until the salt dissolves. Remove the giblets from the cavity and rinse the turkey inside and out. Place in the brine breast side down. The turkey will float, so lay a heavy plate on it to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 4 - 6 hours, not longer than that or the turkey will be too salty. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry inside and out. Place in a roasting pan and return to the refrigerator, uncovered, for 8 - 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and discard any water that has collected in the cavity and in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the turkey on the roasting rack breast-side up. Adjust the stove rack to the lowest position in the oven. Toss 1/3 of the veggies together with 2 sprigs of parsley or thyme into the cavity. Scatter the remaining veggies and herbs in the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour 2 cups of water into the roasting pan with the veggies.

Combine the olive oil through the black pepper. Baste the turkey all over with this mixture. Place the turkey in the oven and roast 45 minutes until the breast is crisp and browned. Baste again and roast another 15 minutes. Rotate the turkey in the oven as needed so all sides brown evenly. Add water to the bottom of the pan as needed to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Remove the turkey from the oven, turn breast-side down, baste and roast another 45 minutes until the bottom is crisp and browned. Baste again and roast another 15 minutes, rotating in the oven as needed. Turn the turkey breast-side up again, baste, rotate and roast in 15 minute intervals (stop basting 30 minutes before the turkey is done roasting), until a thermometer in the breast reads 160 degrees and in the thigh reads 170 degrees (the turkey will keep cooking for several minutes after removal from the oven). You may need to put some foil over the turkey the last half hour of roasting to keep it from getting too brown.

Remove the turkey from the oven, tent with foil and let sit for 20 minutes before carving. A brined turkey will cook faster than a non-brined turkey. A 11 - 12 pound turkey takes approximately 2 hours to roast in the oven.

Pan Gravy

Add a little water or white wine to the roasting pan and stir, scraping up the brown bits of the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Pour the pan drippings through a sieve into a measuring cup. Discard the solids. Skim the fat from the measuring cup, reserving 1/4 cup of fat. Add enough water or chicken broth to the remaining drippings in the measuring cup to equal 2 cups of liquid.

Pour 1/4 cup of the reserved fat into a medium saucepan. Whisk in 3 tbsp. arrowroot starch until smooth. Slowly add the reserved drippings, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season to taste with pepper, if desired Serve hot.

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