Tag brined

Parties That Cook’s Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

This Thanksgiving, make a feast fit for a king (or queen!). This classic roasted turkey recipe will have your guests thankful to be seated around your delicious Thanksgiving centerpiece. Note: Brining is optional, if you don’t have the time, but trust us, it’s well worth the effort.

Thanksgiving Recipe: Brined and Roasted Turkey Recipe
This dish can also be found in our Holiday Recipes Library

Brine (Optional):
1 1/4 gallons (20 cups) cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
½ teaspoon black peppercorns smashed

1 12-14 pound fresh turkey, giblets removed and set aside for another use
1 Tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika (for color)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Note: You may halve or double the recipe. The important thing is to prepare enough brine to cover the turkey completely.

Brine (Optional): Place the water in a large non-reactive pot (like a stainless steel stockpot) that can easily hold the liquid and the turkey. Add all the brine ingredients and stir for a minute or two until the sugar and salt dissolve. Put the turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. If the turkey floats to the top, cover it with plastic wrap and weight it down with a plate and cans to keep it completely submerged in the brine.

Roast: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Remove the bird from the brine and drain well. Pat dry. Stuff the turkey. Mix the paprika into the butter. Brush the turkey skin with the butter mixture.

Roast, Continued: Place the bird on its back (breast side up) on an oiled roasting rack in a roasting pan. Add enough water so that it is ½-inch deep. Roast in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and turn the bird on its side and roast 45 minute – 60 minutes, basting before you return to the oven. Turn the bird on its other side, baste and cook about 45 minute – 60 minutes. The turkey is done when the legs and thighs move up and down freely, the juices are clear in the pan and the temperature of a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160ºF. Reserve the pan juices for the gravy.

Serve: Allow the turkey to stand, tented with foil, for 30 minutes before carving and serving.

Serves 12-14 people (1 pound per person)

10 Steps to Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

After today’s election, there will be nothing left for America to argue about, other than what to serve for Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps a spinach gratin and butternut squash and cider soup to spice up the usual fare of stuffing, yams and green beans… garlic mashed potatoes are a must and pumpkin bread pudding with caramel, too!

Of course, the unequivocal star of our annual harvest holiday is the turkey. In recent years, we’ve noticed all sorts of culinary treatments and trends for cooking the bird: deep fried, smoked, bbqed, glazed, basted, curried, brined or stuffed beyond stuffing – by this we mean the infamous turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken).

turkeyWe’re all for adventurous cooking, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, I choose not to mess with a good thing. Here are my 10 Simple Steps to a Perfectly Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey:

1. Order your turkey from a reputable meat purveyor at least one week prior to Thanksgiving, and pick it up the day before. A fresh turkey is more flavorful than a frozen turkey.

2. Ask your butcher to remove the wishbone. This way, you can slice the full-length of the breast.

3. Buy one pound of turkey per person or 1½ pounds if you want leftovers. Smaller turkeys are more tender, so order two small turkeys versus one large.

4. Once home, remove the bag of giblets from inside the cavity, rinse the turkey inside and out, and pat it dry with paper towels. This helps prevent bacterial growth. Refrigerate immediately. Bring to room temperature one hour before cooking.

5. Stuff the turkey just before roasting to prevent bacterial growth. Don’t overstuff. The stuffing expands while cooking and may cause the bird to explode!

6. While trussing the bird makes a prettier presentation, it is isn’t necessary and the bird will actually cook faster if untrussed. If you do truss the bird however, use kitchen twine not dental floss!

7. Rub the skin of the bird with butter or oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and sweet paprika. The paprika makes the bird a turn a beautiful golden brown. Put the turkey, in a roasting pan, on a rack, so the heat can circulate. Fill the pan with 1/2 inch of water for basting and pan gravy.

8. Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Then cover the breast meat with aluminum foil to keep the bird moist, and cook at 350 degrees until done. Baste every 30 minutes.

9. The turkey is done when a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 160 degrees. The breast may be a higher temperature since it cooks faster.

10. Before carving, let the bird rest for 30 minutes on a warmed platter covered with foil.

Brining the turkey before cooking will produce an even juicier roasted turkey. You’ll find my recipe for brining and roasting a turkey here. Oh, and let’s not forget the gravy. Try this favorite: Pan Gravy with Bourbon Recipe.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more great cooking tips and tricks for Thanksgiving Day. Parties That Cook’s Thanksgiving recipes can be found here.