Here we are in the midst of Thanksgiving Week. I’ve been scheduling out when to clean, when to grocery shop, when to prep, when to cook, when to see friends, and, finally, when to rest. Even with all the chaos, I am loving every second of the holidays. Yes, it can be stressful, but there is so much to anticipate and look forward to.
- Turkey with Gravy (see recipe below)
- Mashed Potatoes
- Broccoli Casserole (see recipe below)
- Apple-Herb Stuffing (see recipe below)
- Pineapple Stuffing (courtesy of my wonderful mother-in-law)
- Sweet Potatoes (courtesy of my wonderful mother)
- Cranberry Sauce (er…from a can)
- Assorted Pies (courtesy of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law)
- 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
- 1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
- 1 red apple, sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 leaves sage
- Canola oil
Click here to see how it’s done.
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skinliberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
*Steph’s Note: I will be substituting 1 Gallon of APPLE CIDER for the Vegetable Stock*
3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Cup Milk
1 (6-1/4 oz) package Stovetop Stuffing Mix
1 (16 oz) package of frozen broccoli cuts, thawed and drained
1 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Preheat oven to 350*. Mix stuffing and milk until well blended. Add remaining ingredients, mix lightly. Spoon into an 11/7-inch greased baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
::Food Network Magazine’s Apple Herb Stuffing::
Melt 1 stick of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups each of diced onions and celery, 2 chopped apples, and 1 tablespoon each of minced sage and thyme. Add salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of turkey or chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Beat 2 eggs with 1/4 cup of chopped parsley in a bowl; add 16 cups of cubed stale white bread, then pour in the vegetable-apple-broth mixture. Toss. Transfer to a buttered baking dish and dot with butter. Cover and bake 30 minutes at 375*; uncover and bake until golden, about 30 more minutes.
These are 3 great recipes for the holidays! My in-laws have prepared the Alton Brown turkey before, and it is so delicious. I am taking a big chance using apple cider instead of vegetable stock, but I’m pretty sure it will be awesome. If you’ve never brined a turkey before, I HIGHLY recommend it. The turkey comes out SO moist and tasty!
Wishing you the best of luck in your holiday cooking endeavors. More holiday recipes to come over the next few weeks.
You can read more about Steph’s life and recipes at her blog, Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom.