Saturday, November 20, 2010

To Brine or Not To Brine

Turkey Dinner came early this year...
This isn't such an appetizing picture, but trust me it was yummy! And the gravy? Oh my word! If you have not attempted brining your Thanksgiving Bird you must try it this year! It's so easy! It makes such a difference in the turkey and the flavor of your gravy! So here's what I do:

Turkey Brining Instructions:
Find a big enough container to fit your bird. I borrow my mom's rubbermaid container. But you could use a 5 gal bucket as well.
Fill the bottom with a few inches of warm water. To this add:

1 cup salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Then add:

3 long sprigs of fresh rosemary (Cut from your mom's garden!)
1/2 pkg fresh thyme (My package was .75oz found in the produce section)
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered

Then place your thawed, rinsed bird in the container(hahaha don't forget to take out the gizzard package and neck! Come on! You know you've left it in before!) and fill the rest of the way with water. It's okay if the top is not totally submerged. Place in the refrigerator. After 6-12 hours, turn over bird. (Not really necessary if you are using a 5 gal bucket) and brine for another 6-12 hours.

NOW: I learned some things this time around...I'm not sure why I don't remember this problem last time I brined but maybe I didn't make gravy that time - who knows. SO at this point what you need to do is take the bird out of the brine and rinse thoroughly. Let the water fill up the cavity and pour out. Dump your brine water out - save all the good stuff, herbs and fruit. Fill your container with fresh water and soak your bird for 15 min or so. Now you are ready to get out your roasting pan/rack and place your turkey on the rack in your pan. (I line the bottom with foil) Stuff all that fruit, rosemary and thyme into the cavity of your bird. This makes for yummy gravy!
Bake for the recommended time.
Now for the gravy! This is kinda off the cuff so I hope you get the point!
Skim some of the fat off the top of your pan of drippings. Place equal amounts of fat and flour in a medium size frying pan on med heat. I'm guessing 2T of each to start out with. Whisk until you have a thick mixture.
I transferred the rest of the drippings into a gravy separator I wouldn't have so much grease. Pour your yummy grease free drippings into your fry pan. The aroma is amazing! Bring to a slow boil, do a taste test....(this is where I messed up - mine was uber salty because I didn't rinse and soak my bird in the fresh water so I kept adding plain water to cut the saltiness) If your flavor is wonderful and the right saltiness you can add low sodium chicken broth to it to create more gravy. If it's too salty like mine was then add water. If you think it's getting too thin then make a flour paste with flour and water and strain it into your pan through a strainer to avoid lumps. This was so yummy that I didn't have to add anything to it. The flavor was amazing. The turkey was moist and wonderful. Looking forward to leftovers!

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