Make your Thanksgiving celebration, or any other festive gathering a success with this beautifully prepared roast turkey. First, brined overnight to infuse flavor and moisture, and then rubbed with butter herb mixture to keep the breast meat moist and further enhance the flavors, finally, roasted to perfection, this turkey is juicy and delicious with a crispy skin.
Brine for 12- 18 hours; for every gallon of water you will need 1 cup of salt. If you have less time, brine for 4-6 hours doubling the amount of salt. Sugar may be substituted for up to half of the salt.
1 gallon (16 cups) water
1/2 cup sea or Kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp juniper berries (optional)
2-3 bay leaves
1 turkey, thawed
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 cup butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 garlic cloves, whole
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp orange zest (optional)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
pepper to taste
If you don’t have time to make the broth, use chicken stock instead.
neck and giblets (discard the liver)
5-6 cup water
turkey pan drippings
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 celery, chopped (optional)
1 small onion, halved
Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity. Place the turkey breast side down into a large stock pot, container, or brining bag. With a measuring cup add cold water into the pot, counting the cups until the bird is fully immersed.
Remove 4 0r 5 cups of water from the pot. Pour it into a medium size pan. Add the salt and sugar according to the amount of the water you measured out to cover the turkey, then add the pepper corns, coriander seeds, juniper berries, and bay leaves. Boil until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat, and let it cool before adding into the pot with the turkey. Cover the pot and place into the fridge for 12-18 hours.
If you are using a brining bag, remove excess air and carefully seal the bag, and place it on a tray before putting it into the fridge. To insure even brining, rotate the turkey half way through the brining time.
Remove the turkey from the pot, rinse and pat it dry. Discard the brining liquid.
In a medium bowl, mix the butter, herbs, pepper, lemon and orange zest, lemon juice, and minced garlic.
Pepper the cavity of the turkey.
Remove excess fat from the bird if you wish. Carefully separate the turkey skin from the breast meat by sliding your fingers under the skin. Avoid ripping it. Evenly distribute 2/3 of the butter mixture under the skin, and rub the rest outside the bird.
Place the turkey breast side up on the roasting rack inside the roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the onion and orange halves, lemon wedges, garlic, and sprigs of rosemary. Lift the wings up towards the neck and fold under the back of the bird to prevent them from over cooking. Tie the legs with the string. Fold the neck skin over and fasten to the back with 2 tooth picks. Insert the oven safe thermometer into the turkey between the breast and thigh. Be careful not to touch the bone.
Roast in the 350 F preheated oven basting the bird with the drippings every 45 minutes to 1 hour.Cooking times will vary depending on whether the bird was purchased fresh or frozen. Plan on 20 minutes per pound for a defrosted turkey and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for fresh. Your turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. The bird is ready when the temperature riches 180 F in the thigh, and 165 F in the breast.
While the turkey is roasting, bring the water, neck, giblets, onion, and celery to a boil in a medium pan. Remove the impurities as they rise to the surface of the broth. Lower the heat and simmer covered for an hour.
When turkey is ready, remove the roasting rack from the pan. Cover the turkey with tin foil, and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
Pour the drippings into a 4 cup fat separator. Let the fat separate from the meat juice. Speed up the process by placing the drippings into the fridge for half an hour.
Skim 1/3 cup fat from the drippings into a medium pan, and set it aside. Discard the remaining fat from the fat separator, reserving the meat juice. Add the turkey broth to the roasting pan. With a spoon, scrape off the brown bits. Add the mixture to the meat juice to make 4 cups.
Heat the fat in the pan you set aside. Stir in the flour to make a light roux. Gradually stir in the contents of the fat separator. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or until thickened. If the gravy becomes too thick, thin it out with the broth.
Remove and discard the stuffing from the cavity. Carve the turkey, and serve it with the gravy on the side.