Turkey recipes abound and its officially countdown time to the big day! I’ve ordered my Mary’s Free Range organic turkey – all it takes is a phone call to Whole Foods – and I’ll pick it up next Monday so it has 2+ days to defrost in the refrigerator. So let’s talk turkey! Have you decided to try something new or do you have a tried and true recipe? Or maybe you’re relieved of turkey duty and travel to your mom’s or sister’s house or you could be one of the many who enjoy the holiday feast by making reservations 🙂 Its all good!
These days its just not as simple as roasting a turkey – there are recipes for dry rubs, brining, glazing, deep-fried, smoked, and grilled turkeys! For the past 10 years I’ve made a Brown Sugar Cured Turkey recipe from Bon Appetit – its a rub of brown sugar and herbs that is slathered on the bird the day before and refrigerated uncovered for 24 hours. Doing this draws the moisture to the skin and infuses the meat with a subtle sweetness. My mouth is watering just describing it to you!
Even though my words of advice for the home chef usually is along the lines of “don’t try anything too radically new” for the big day, this year I took a huge leap of faith and brined the big bird! After the grand opening of Whole Foods in Huntington Beach, I was contacted about testing a brining recipe for Kikkoman and thought that might be kind of fun for a change. I mentioned that I only use low-sodium soy sauce and the box I received included it and several other popular Kikkoman sauces along with a gift card to purchase a turkey.
My kitchen is not equipped with gigantic stock pots, my largest one was not big enough for a 12-pound turkey submerged in two gallons of soy-laced water , so I used doubled turkey-sized oven bags suggested in another brining recipe that I had seen recently in Bon Appetit. And actually the bag helps keep the brining liquid from sloshing out of the pot as you move it from the kitchen to your refrigerator that’s in the garage 🙂 Anyway, it was quite comical and in the end resulted in a succulent, but not salty, turkey infused with a rich savory umami flavor. The brown rice syrup glaze gives the bird a crisp, burnished skin. The Don raved about it and no mention was made of turkeys past, so that means it was REALLY gooood!
Savory Brined Turkey with Brown Rice Syrup Glaze
Savory Turkey Brine:
2 gallons cold water
10 ounce bottle of Low-Sodium Kikkoman Soy Sauce
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried celery salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
The night before roasting, remove giblets and turkey neck; rinse turkey inside and out. In a large stockpot* mix water with remaining ingredients. Stir well until all the salt is dissolved. Place turkey in pot, cover with lid and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry with paper towels
*You can use two turkey-sized oven bags (insert one oven bag into another) and placed into a dutch oven or stock pot to make it easier to move in and out of the refrigerator. Slide turkey into the bag, breast side down. Place the turkey in the bag and pour brine over, close the bag with a twist tie.
Brown Rice Syrup Glaze:
⅔ cup brown rice syrup*
¼ cup Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar or apple cider vinegar
4 fresh thyme sprigs
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
Combine brown rice syrup, vinegar, thyme, and black pepper in a small saucepan. Heat over med-high heat to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Mix in butter. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before using.
*Brown rice syrup is lightly sweet, amber-colored and smooth, Lundberg Sweet Dreams® Brown Rice Syrup is a nutritive sweetener that is about half as sweet as sugar. It’s a tasty alternative for those who watch their sugar intake. Bake with it, pour it over ice cream or pancakes, or stir it into your morning coffee.
To Roast Turkey:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set oven rack to the lowest position.
2 teaspoons pepper
2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
2 peeled onions, quartered
Sprinkle main cavity of turkey with pepper, fill with celery and onion. Close cavity with turkey lacing pins. Tuck wing tips under turkey. Brush turkey with canola oil.
Place turkey in rack in roasting pan; add two cups water to pan.
Roast turkey for two hours. Brush with glaze; add water if pan is dry. Roast for 30 minutes; brush with glaze. Tent with foil if browning too quickly. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165 degrees, about 30 – 45 minutes more depending on weight. Generally, roasting time is calculated as 15 minutes per pound. Brush with more glaze. Transfer to platter; let rest for 30 minutes (temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).
Tips on carving your bird: