For the most delicious and moist turkey that you have ever eaten, nothing comes close to brining your turkey. I got this idea out of a magazine and now always brine my turkey before cooking. This is nothing more than soaking it in salt water for 24 hours and throwing in some herbs, fruit, garlic and fresh ginger root. Start early on Christmas Eve morning as the turkey has to sit in the brine for 24 hours.
To make the brine, pour 2 litres of water into a large stock pot. Turn heat on high. Cut up 3 oranges and 2 lemons. Cut up a piece of ginger root about the size of your thumb and an entire head of garlic, cut horizontally in half. Measure 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of Kosher salt (this is a coarse grind that does not contain any additives such as iodine and is less ’salty’ tasting), 4 bay leaves, 1/2 a bunch of fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon of cracked, mixed peppercorns. Add all ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Add about 5 more litres of cold water to mixture.
Find something large enough to hold the turkey so that it will be completely submerged in the brine (a picnic cooler is perfect, but remember to disinfect it with bleach afterwards). Remove the neck and giblets. Submerge the turkey completely and add some ice or freezer packs to make sure the turkey stays cold. If you don’t have a cooler, a giant pot that will fit in the fridge will work. Keep checking on the temperature if you are using a cooler and add ice packs as necessary to keep the turkey at 40F (4C) or below.
After 24 hours remove turkey from brine and rinse under cold running water and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. You are now ready to stuff your bird as usual, but you will NOT need to salt the inside cavity as the salt water will have been infused into the flesh. Roast at 325F for about 20 minutes per pound. I buy an organically raised turkey and roast mine uncovered, basting every 1/2 hour. The taste and moistness of the meat is incredible. And don’t forget to make those little, frilly, paper things to put on the drumsticks!
And speaking of Thanksgiving, take a look at “Macy’s Windows” @ www.macyswindows.com My new Christmas print.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!