Sunday dinner around here usually means sauce, pasta, and meatballs with my extended family, a random friend or two, and sometimes an occasional priest - our Italian roots run deep! But every now and then, we change it up and last weekend inspiration struck via Pinterest - specifically, this pin. As you might suspect, holiday traditions also run deep and I would never experiment with a turkey recipe on The Big Day. I declared last Sunday's dinner "Pre-Thanksgiving Experiment #1".
The main attraction was Cider-Brined Maple-Glazed Turkey. My brother-in-law joined in the fun by testing a new stuffing recipe (it was delicious!), and we rounded out the meal with mashed potatoes, peas, and pumpkin and apple pies for dessert. Everything was so good, we may not need a Pre-Thanksgiving Experiment #2.
First, I watched the pinned video. It's 14 minutes long, but very informative, especially if (like me) you've never brined a turkey. A printable recipe can be found here.
The process began on Saturday with brine preparation and making herbed butter. The actual brining began later in the evening. Unfortunately, I got so caught up in finding a proper container that I forgot to take a picture. I ended up using a strong garbage bag carefully positioned in a cooler.
Sunday morning, I removed the turkey from the brine solution, rinsed it, and left it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Just before roasting I prepared the glaze and rubbed the entire turkey with herbed butter, even under the skin. After basting with glaze, the turkey was finally ready for the oven.
A few hours later, we enjoyed the most delicious turkey - ever!
- check the size of the brine container ahead of time
- apples and cider burn on the bottom of a roasting pan --> line it with foil
- 450 degrees seemed too hot (at least in my oven) for the first hour --> try 425
- herbed butter at room temp is much easier to spread
- vanilla beans are expensive ($10 for two!) --> try pure vanilla extract next time
- reserve 1cup of brine cider for roasting; replaced it with white wine
- brining for 10 hours instead of 6 to 8 is fine
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