Into the Briney Deep

Thanksgiving Dinner

Image by The Vault DFW via Flickr

This year is a big Thanksgiving in my family, for the first time in 15 years the whole family will be together for the holiday.

It should be very interesting.

The festivities will be at my sisters house in Sacramento.  For me this is the usual state of affairs, I have been coming down to California to cook Thanksgiving dinner with my sister for nearly a decade now.  When we first started we were too single girls having a good time (we did learn after the first year not to have too good a time the night before) and now she is married with two kids (I’m still having a good time) but the meal has remained almost the same.  The centerpieceto this meal is a well brined turkey.

Brine is a simple thing but it changes your turkey into a flavorful and surprisingly moist bird that will have your diners talking (true story).  There are a lot of different ideas about brine but the recipe I use, adapted from a Caprial’s recipe I found in the Oregonian, has proved to be delicious year after year.  The basics are simple:

1 cup kosher salt and a 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of liquid.

The liquid remains in question.  I have read repeatably that you cant taste the flavor of the brining liquid but I beg to differ.  We use a mix of:

apple cider, 2 parts, and white wine, 1 part, which adds a delicate air of apple to the bird

Put it all in the largest pot you have.  add:

onion, cut into quarters but no need to peel

garlic cloves, smashed but no need to peel either

a small handful of whole peppercorns,

fresh herbs, whatever are the flavors you prefer to use on your bird usually rosemary, sage and thyme

warm on the stove until highly aromatic but not boiling.  Cool.  Once the liquid is cold immerse your, cleaned turkey in it and leave overnight in a refrigerator.  The next day remove your bird from the brine and rinse clean in cold water, make sure to thoroughly remove any traces of the brine.  Season and cook the bird as you normally would but DO NOT ADD ANY SALT, seriously.

this make the most delicious turkey and keeps it form becoming dry.


~ by whatsheeats on November 24, 2010.

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