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Apple Cider-Brined Turkey with Savory Herb Gravy

LaurelLaurel

The greatest thanksgiving turkey of all time...adapted from a Cooking Light recipe from a few years ago. Brining is an overnight process, so if you’re using a frozen turkey, be sure to thaw it well in advance. Choose turkey-sized plastic oven bags for brining the turkey. Use two bags to prevent brine from leaking, and place the turkey in a large stockpot as another precaution and makes it easier to fill the bags.


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Ingredients

  • BRINE:
  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 2/3 cup kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice, coarsely crushed
  • 8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 6 cups ice
  • REMAINING INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Savory Herb Gravy
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directions

  • 1

    To prepare brine, combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.

  • 2

    Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for Savory Herb Gravy. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters. Place a turkey-sized oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey inside inner bag. Add cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

  • 3

    Preheat oven to 500°.

  • 4

    Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Brush turkey back with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes.

  • 5

    Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

  • 6

    Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn turkey over (breast side up) using tongs. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 170° (make sure not to touch bone). (Shield the turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Reserve pan drippings for Savory Herb Gravy. Discard skin before serving; serve with gravy.


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