Herb Brined and Roasted Turkey Recipe

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It’s Almost Turkey Time!!

We’ve been hosting our family Thanksgiving feast for over 7 years now. We usually host between 25-30 people. Luckily, everyone pitches in!

I always make the 2 turkeys, the stuffing (technically dressing as I don’t stuff the birds), the gravy and some other goodies. I know dry brining and spatchcock turkeys are all the rage, but our turkeys always turn out delicious and juicy with a wet brine method, so that’s what I’m going to continue with for now. I make one turkey earlier in the day and carve it, then the 2nd turkey I schedule to finish at our dinner time.

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I buy 2, 18-20 pound turkeys at our local farmer’s market. You want to make sure any turkey you brine doesn’t already have a saline solution added - sometimes they’re labeled “pre-basted” or “pre-brined” - you could end up with a too salty turkey if you brine a turkey that already has added salt.

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When brining you need to keep the turkey(s) submerged in the brining liquid for about 8-16 hours. You also need to keep the turkey(s) cold. I don’t have enough refrigerator space for 2 big turkeys so I use a cooler in the garage. I discovered that 5-gallon paint bucket liners from the paint store work great for submerging the turkey(s) in the brine and I can fit two in 1 large cooler. They’re inexpensive and flexible so you can nestle them into your cooler. You can line the bucket liners with a large oven or brining bag if you like. I buy several bags of ice and pour ice over and around the turkeys in their bucket liners. You’ll want to make sure to clean and disinfect your cooler really well afterward.

 I brine my turkeys in a cooler in the garage. I use 5-gallon paint bucket liners lined with large oven bags to hold the turkeys. You can find the paint bucket liners at the paint store.

I brine my turkeys in a cooler in the garage. I use 5-gallon paint bucket liners lined with large oven bags to hold the turkeys. You can find the paint bucket liners at the paint store.

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I always take notes and refer to them each year when it comes time to roast the bird, but I always like to double-check myself on timing, temperatures etc. There are great online resources available if you have questions:

10 Turkey Tips

Turkey Brining Guide

How to Brine a Whole Turkey

Herb Brined and Roasted Turkey

Tina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com

Total time for my 17-19 pound turkeys is approx. 4 - 4 1/2 hours (including 30 min. resting time)

This makes enough brine for 1 turkey.

Ingredients:

1 (14 to 20 pound) fresh or thawed turkey (not pre-basted or pre-brined - check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t already have salt added, if it does, additional brining could make it too salty.)

The Brine:

1 cup coarse kosher salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 gallon low-sodium chicken stock

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

1 lemon, zested and quartered

3 garlic cloves, smashed or roughly chopped

3 sprigs rosemary

3 sprigs thyme

1 sprig sage (about 8 leaves)

1 gallon heavily iced water

Several bags of ice if using cooler method

The Aromatics:

1 lemon, quartered

1 onion, quartered

1 cup water

4 sprigs rosemary

6 leaves sage

4 sprigs thyme

Extra sprigs sage for garnish if desired

Canola oil

Directions:

Note: Make sure your oven is clean before roasting turkey to prevent any smoking.

MAKE THE BRINE:

  1. The day before you want to cook your turkey (or earlier) make your brine.

  2. Combine the stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon zest, lemon quarters, garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage 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. 

  3. You want to brine your turkey for approx. 8-16 hours. So you’ll want to count back from when you need to put your turkey in the oven.  I put mine in the brine in the evening before the day I want to cook it, it brines all night.  I take it out of the brine and put my turkey in the oven around 11AM the next day.

BRINE THE TURKEY:

  1. If you have tons of room in your refrigerator you can brine in a large container or brining bag in your refrigerator.  I brine 2 turkeys each year in a cooler in the garage.  Each turkey gets placed in a 5-gallon paint bucket liner.  You can buy them at the paint store for a few dollars.  If you want, you can line the paint bucket liners with large brine/oven bags.

  2. Make sure to remove any innards from the inside of the turkey and give it a rinse. Then place turkey in your brining container.

  3. Pour the cooled brine over the turkey and immediately follow with the gallon of ice water.

  4. If using a cooler, I add ice on top of the turkey and all around the bucket in the cooler.  Cover with plastic wrap or foil and close lid of cooler.  I sometimes have to put something on top to weigh the lid down.

  5. Refrigerate or keep in iced cooler for 8 to 16 hours.

ROASTING:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.  If cooler was used, you will need to rinse and disinfect cooler and any buckets used. I recycle the bucket liners.

  2. Place the bird on roasting rack inside roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels. If any part of the turkey overhangs the pan, tuck some foil around the overhanging part so it doesn’t drip onto oven floor and cause smoking. 

  3. Combine the lemon quarters, onion quarters and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 3 minutes.   Add the warmed onion, lemon and herbs to the turkey cavity.

  4. Optional garnish: If you want to, use your hands to gently loosen the skin from the turkey breasts, slip a sprig of sage between the skin and the turkey breast on each side.

  5. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey and tie the legs with cotton kitchen string.  Coat the skin with canola oil. 

  6. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 475 degrees F for 30 minutes.

  7. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

  8. Roast for approx. 10 - 15 minutes per pound. You can baste every 30 minutes if you like.

  9. If the turkey skin becomes too dark, you can cover loosely with foil. 

  10. Roast until the thickest part of the breast is 161-165 degrees F.   I usually double check by wiggling the legs, they should be very loose and wiggly.

  11. My 18-10 pound turkeys take approx. 4 - 4 1/2 hours including resting time. Count on about 15 minutes per pound for roasting.

  12. When the turkey is done, remove from oven, tent with foil and rest 20-30 minutes before carving. 

Printable Recipe: Herb Brined and Roasted Turkey

Milk Chocolate Mousse Recipe (Food Processor Version, No Egg)

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Milk Chocolate Mousse: Food Processor (no egg)

Tina Verrelli – epicuricloud.com

 

Makes 4-6 servings depending upon size of dish (about 20-ounces total)

 

INGREDIENTS:

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 tablespoon water

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons neutral oil (avocado, safflower, canola…)

1 cup + 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chips

1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1/16 teaspoon (pinch) salt (I used kosher salt)

1 cup cold heavy cream

 

DIRECTIONS:

In small liquid measuring cup stir together instant espresso powder and water until dissolved, add oil and vanilla.

 

Set-up the metal Multi-Purpose (chopping) blade in food processor.

Add the chocolate chips and process on high until chopped up finely.

 

In microwavable liquid measuring cup combine milk, sugar and salt. (I use a 2-cup measure as milk tends to bubble up) Microwave for 30-minute increments, stirring in-between until hot and steamy and the sugar is dissolved. (45 seconds – 1 minute)

 

With processor running on low, add hot milk mixture in a slow steady stream.  This will melt the chocolate.  Next, with food processor running on low, add the espresso mixture in a slow steady stream.  Pour this mixture out into a large bowl and allow to cool (about 10 minutes.)

 

Using the same food processor bowl and blade (no need to clean off any chocolate residue) Add the heavy cream and process on high or hold down the pulse button for the highest speed and whip until thickened.  Watch through the top of the processor and stop as soon as you see it thicken. (Don’t over-process or it will turn to butter.  Still tasty though!)

 

When chocolate mixture is cool, fold in half of the whipped cream.  This will lighten up the chocolate mixture.  Then, fold in the rest of the whipped cream, just until all combined.  If a few lumps remain, stir very gently with a whisk.

 

Spoon the mixture into 4-6 dishes and refrigerate until chilled.  Can make up to 2-days in advance.

 

NOTES:

I used KitchenAid 7-Cup EZ Store Food Processor.

 

To Decorate as “Dirt Desserts” for Halloween:

I used:

Oreo Cookies – processed to crumbs in food processor

Candy pumpkins  and/or candy corn

Milano cookies

Black decorating frosting

PRINTABLE RECIPE: Milk Chocolate Mousse

 

Clean Your Pumpkin Seeds with Your Stand Mixer (Video)

No More Hands in the Pumpkin Goop!

Click photo to play video

How to Roast Your Pumpkin Seeds:

When your seeds are all clean, it’s time to roast them up!

If your seeds are still wet, you need to dry them:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.

Spread your seeds on a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment for easy clean up.)

Bake until the seeds are throughly dry, you may need to get in there a few times and stir them a bit.

The amount of time will depend how wet your seeds are.

When you’re ready to roast them:

Increase oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Drizzle your dry seeds with a tablespoon or so of neutral oil (avocado, safflower, canola) stir to coat evenly with the oil and sprinkle with salt.

Pop them in the oven and roast until they are evenly toasted and brown - about 20-25 minutes.

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