Thursday, November 24, 2011

Brined Turkey - A First!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I am so thankful for you, fellow bloggers, Mr. Squash, our health and of course -- The Squash House! 
I thought while the turkey is in the oven for many of you, that I would share my first turkey brining experience.  This year we decided to cook the turkey the day before Thanksgiving along with any side dishes that could be prepared ahead.  Today I'm doing the stuffing in a crockpot, rolls and a side dish of Brussels Sprouts.  I should have plenty of time to relax before dinner for a change.
SIL in New Jersey emailed just the other day that she brined a turkey and had great results! I've thought about doing it for some time now, so I decided to make a last minute change in plans!  You can find the recipe that I used in a video here:  http://www.kitchendaily/.com  It began as quite an odyssey!  Our 5 gallon plastic bucket was not food safe, so after finally getting to the 5th and final grocery store in town, we found a brining bag large enough to fit the turkey and the bucket!  Here is the bucket after Mr. Squash hefted it into the frig!
Don't be grossed out by this - it's only the shadows of all the veggies in the brine that fell to the bottom while Mr. Turkey was brining.  I only wanted you to see how close we came to having just enough room for him in the bucket!  It looks like more, but there is only about 4-5 inches left at the top of the bucket!
Once I took the turkey out of the brine it had to sit for about 30 minutes which gave me just enough time to prepare the basting sauce.  First I finely chopped 2 Tbsp of fresh rosemary from my garden.
Then I peeled the rind in large strips from one lemon.  Last time I used this peeler I managed to peel my thumb along with a butternut squash!  I was very careful this time! 

Next was to mince one clove of garlic.  This is a head from garlic we harvested this summer - I just love the bright, red color!  See that cute little machine?  We picked it up on our recent trip to Leavenworth - it's a garlic mincer!  You place your clove inside, then roll the wheels back and forth on the counter several times and voila...

...perfectly chopped garlic with no mess!  The little chopper comes right out to wash and ready for the next clove!  Have you ever seen the "get it or forget it" stories about new gadgets on the news? In my book, this is a definite "Get It"!

Place the above ingredients in a small saucepan along with 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, bring to a simmer and cook for a minute or so.  Set aside to cool.

Next cut one large yellow onion into 8 wedges.

Place the onion in the bottom of your roaster, then the rack, then your turkey.  Baste your turkey and place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.

Here is Mr. Turkey in the oven waiting to bring out his wonderful flavor!  Bake at 425 for one hour, then reduce the oven to 375, pour one cup of water into the bottom of the pan.  Baste with the reserved olive oil mixture every half hour until a thermometer registers 165 degrees.  You can find the recipe here:  Martha called for the turkey to be stuffed, but I didn't and still had excellent results!

Wouldn't you know just when I took the turkey out to rest I got a call from an old friend in California.  I totally forgot to take a photo of the whole bird nicely roasted, but here he is all sliced and ready to be served later today!  I can honestly say it looked as good as the picture in the recipe!

I also made the accompanying recipe for White Wine Gravy:  I must say that this is one of the best gravies I've ever made!  We can't wait to dig into all this later today!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Lorri said...

We brined our first one last year. I used an ice chest and it worked really well Happy Thanksgiving

Stephanie said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I can smell the goodness. Interesting and yummy looking rosemary lemon sauce. Do you I can NOT make gravy? I resort to the stuff in the jar. I'm printing this recipe for next year.

Me and My Stitches said...

Looks yummy! We are deep frying our turkeys this year - 2 different turkeys with 2 different marinades. Is it time to eat yet??

Kaaren said...

Set an extra place setting. No, make that for Mr. PQ and one for me. We're just leaving now. Do you think you can press the 'pause' button for about 5 days because I figure that's how long it'll take us to drive from Nova Scotia to Washington.

Once can dream, right?

Happy Thanksgiving to you both. It looks like it's going to be a feast fit for a king...and queen...of course.

pratima said...

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!
Have a wonderful day!

Linda said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Bob!!! I'm so thankful to have found you, a wonderful friend!

I've wanted to brine a turkey for some time. Yours looks wonderful. Maybe next year!

Jackie said...

We've brined turkey a time or two and they're always moist and delicious. Wishing you and Mr. Squash a happy Thanksgiving!

Carrie P. said...

OOO!! your thanksgiving bird sounds very yummy.
We put our turkey breast in a brine too. It is amazing how juicy and moist the turkey comes out.
Pretty neat garlic chopper. I will have to be on the lookout for one of those.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog and the adventures of you and Mr. Squash.

Congrats on your first brined turkey, looks great.

Libby said...

I've been hearing about brining for some time now, but have never tried it . . . yet *s* Looks like you had terrific results.

Louise said...

I have a few friends that brine their Thanksgiving turkey and they always rave about it..After reading your post I just might try it next year..We too have become new family for a homeless kitty. We feel as if she adopted us! We have named her Nora..She is sweet and personable as she can be

Karen said...

That looks delicious, Candace. We actually bought a few turkeys when they were on sale. I will have to forward this to my cook to try ;)

Houseelf said...

Never done that! What I am truely in AWE of is your garlic chopper! I've got one of those things a bit like a not cracker but with holes. It is a blighter to clean out even in the dishwasher. I will have to see if I can find a gismo like yours. In soup season we make soup a lot.

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