Cider-Brined-and-Glazed Turkey

Adapted via Epicurious
Serves: 10 to 12 (with leftovers!)

For the Brine:
♦ 4 quarts apple cider, divided
♦ 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
♦ 1/4 cup whole allspice
♦ 8 bay leaves
♦ 4 quarts cold water
♦ 1 20-pound turkey (neck and gizzard reserved)

For Sage Broth:
♦ 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
♦ 1 onion, quartered
♦ 1 celery stalk, cut into 4 pieces
♦ 8 to 10 fresh sage leaves

For the Glaze:
♦ 2 cups apple cider
♦ 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

For the Filling:
♦ 1 large carrot, cut into 5 pieces
♦ 1 large apple, quartered
♦ 1 large celery stick, cut into 5 pieces
♦ 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
♦ 2 sprigs fresh sage
♦ 3 cloves peeled garlic

For the Gravy
♦ 4 to 6 tbsp all purpose flour
♦ 2 tbsp fresh sage leaves

Brine the turkey: Simmer 1 quart apple cider, salt, allspice, and bay leaves in 20-quart pot 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool completely. Add remaining 3 quarts cider and 4 quarts water. Place turkey in brine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The next day, drain the turkey and rinse. Arrange on several layers of paper towels in a large roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight (in case you’re wondering, this allows the skin to get nice and crispy).

Make your broth
: Simmer all ingredients in large saucepan 30 minutes. Strain sage broth into a heatproof bowl (can be made 1 day ahead – it chilled overnight along with uncovered turkey).

Make the glaze: Boil cider in saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Whisk in butter. Cool completely (can also be made 1 day ahead – bring to room temperature before using).

Cook the turkey: Set rack at lowest position in oven; preheat to 450°F. Remove paper towels from roasting pan. Pat main and neck cavities of turkey dry. Fill the neck cavoty with a piece of carrot and celery, slice of apple, clove of garlic, and sprig each of thyme and sage; place the remaining fillings into the main cavity. Gently set the turkey into the pan, tuck wings under, and tie legs together loosely with kitchen twine.

Cover with foil, and roast turkey 30 minutes – lower the oven temperature to 325°F. Open the oven and pull back the foil – brush the turkey with some of glaze. Return to the oven and cover with foil – roast for another hour. Cover with foil. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, brushing with glaze every 30 minutes and adding up to 1 cup water to pan if drippings begin to burn, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours longer. Depending on your oven, remove the foil close to the end of cooking (to allow the skin to brown). Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes.

Make the gravy: Pour pan juices into large measuring cup. Allow to cool, and spoon off fat. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and about 1/2 cup degreased juices. Pour sage broth into roasting pan. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Combine flour, sage leaves, and reserved 3 tablespoons fat in heavy large saucepan; stir over medium heat 1 minute. Whisk in the broth from roasting pan and reserved pan juices. Bring to a boil until gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain into sauceboat. Serve turkey with gravy.

To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE.

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