Summer Brined and Roasted Turkey

Turkey dinners aren’t just for the holidays! They make a great spring and summer dinner, full of aromatic fruit and spice flavours, and pairs perfectly with Dry or Semi-Dry Riesling. Try serving it with candied heirloom carrots, and a fresh garden salad with dried cranberries and goat cheese with a ginger, lemon, miso salad dressing, instead of the traditional heavy mashed potatoes and stuffing. Substitute heavy beef gravies with a spicy lighter sauce, like Swiss Chalet or St. Hubert’s bbq sauce, available at most grocery stores. Keep the concept of cranberry sauce, but consider a fruit chutney or compote instead, or stick with tradition and serve cranberry sauce, but consider making it yourself.

Soaking this turkey overnight in our brine ensures the moistest turkey you’ll ever make. When you add aromatics to the brine, the result is a bird infused with flavour and spice, perfect for summer evenings. The bonus of cooking this bird in the summer is that you can sit in the backyard sipping wine all day while the bird roasts away, minimal supervision is required!

Brining Time: 24 hours
Prep Time: Roughly 2.5 hours
Cook Time: Roughly 4 hours
Skill Level: Medium
Serves:  10 - 12 people or more as a meal, with sides

Ingredients:

·       28 cups of water, or unsalted vegetable stock, or apple cider (or you can mix all three if you’d like)

·       1 bottle Domaine LeSeurre Dry Riesling
•      1 1/2 cups coarse salt1

·       1 1/2 cups sugar

·       6 dry bay leaves (or 8 to 10 fresh)

·       1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger

·       2 tbsp. whole black or coloured peppercorns

·       1 1/2 tsp. dried red chilli flakes

·       6 large garlic cloves, smashed

·       1 bunch fresh thyme

·       1 bunch fresh rosemary

·       1 bunch fresh sage

·       2 large red apples (sweet apples, like Red Delicious)

·       2 large oranges

·       ½ stick unsalted butter at room temperature

·       1 fresh whole fresh turkey (not frozen, not kosher as kosher birds are already salted, unseasoned) (about 18 to 22 pounds), rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets and liver removed and discarded

Makes enough brine for one 18 to 22 pound turkey

Important note: Stuffing/Dressing should never be made inside a brined turkey, nor should you use the contents of the roasting pan to make gravy – both will be far too salty!

What you’ll need:
·       5-gallon brining container (tub, stockpot, or bucket), we recommend a large jamming pot with lid
·       Large brining or oven-roasting bag to line the pot with (this is a must!)
·       Make room in your refrigerator for your brining container ahead of time. This could involve moving shelves around, so plan ahead
·       Large roasting pan with rack
·       Turkey-baster
·       Meat thermometer
·       Turkey lifters

Brining Directions:

·       Start with ¼ of the liquid you plan on using (not the wine) is a large pot and turn to low-medium heat. Add the salt and sugar and whisk until dissolved.

·       Add the peel of the two oranges (reserve the orange flesh, you will place in turkey cavity tomorrow), bay leaves, half bunch of each herb on stems, the fresh grated ginger, the crushed chilli peppers, garlic, and peppercorns. Stir for a few minutes and then set mixture aside to cool completely.

·       In your large, lined, brining vessel, add the turkey and remaining liquid ingredients, including the bottle of wine. Add completely cooled contents from pot, add the remaining liquid to the bag. Make sure the turkey is completely covered in the brine. If it is not, add cold water until covered. Tie the bag shut, put lid on if available, and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.

 After 24 hours: Cooking Directions:
·       Remove turkey from brine and rinse with water (this will be a bit messy, make sure your sink is clean and rinse turkey in sink).

·       Pat turkey dry with paper towel and place in large roasting pan on rack, breast side up.

·       Allow turkey to come to room temperature (about two hours)

·       If legs are not already tied together, tie together with kitchen twine.

·       Quarter  apples and reserved oranges and place loosely in turkey cavity.

·       Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

·       Take the rest of the herbs, remove leaves from stems and mix with room temperature butter. Cover turkey with mixture (once turkey has come to room temperature).

·       Place turkey in oven, and allow to cook for 1 hour without opening oven.

·       After an hour, without opening, turn temperature down to 300 and continue roasting for 2 more hours.

·       After two hours, use the turkey-baster to pull melted butter and juices from bottom of pan and baste turkey. Allow to cook for 2o minutes. Check the temperature of the turkey. Continue to cook until internal temperature reaches proper temperature for breast and thigh meat, both having reached a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Continue basting and checking every 20 minutes throughout this process. As a rough guideline, each pound of turkey needs about 12 minutes of cooking time.

·       When done, remove turkey from oven allow to rest at room temperature, loosely tented with tinfoil, for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This is a very important final step! If you carve the turkey right away all of the juices will run out and all of your hard work will be for nothing as turkey will taste dry. Let the bird rest!

·       Remove and discard apples and oranges from turkey cavity. Do not eat.

·       Carve and serve your turkey with a bottle of Domaine LeSeurre Semi-Dry or Dry Riesling!