I am so excited to spend time with my family this Thursday. I love cooking, so you can imagine that nothing thrills me more than preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my family. While, yes, I am a vegan, not everyone in my family is on that page. In fact, I seem to be on that page by myself. SO! I cook a turkey for the holiday just the same as everyone else. Well, almost the same. Here’s what I’d like to share with you. I have a fantastic, amazing, cannot say enough about it recipe for a turkey brine that will literally transform your dinner into something gourmet. You know how the white meat is really good for you, but often really dry? Well, when I was a meat eater, I really didn’t care for turkey much at all especially the dry white meat. So this is what I did. I cleared the room in my fridge and brined my bird. All the difference, I tell you. Not one spot on the bird will be dry or anything but delicious (even for those who don’t generally like turkey) if you follow this recipe. So, have fun cooking and prepping this week. Don’t lose sight of the meaning of the holiday. Enjoy your time with friends and family. Travel safely if you’re on the road or in the sky. And if you’re the turkey chef this year…trust me you’ll want to try this recipe.
Brining for 18-20 lb. turkey
4 cups of kosher salt
4 gallons water
½ cup peppercorns
2 cups raw sugar
3 large carrots
3 stalks celery
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs sage
1. In very large pot over medium heat, heat 1 gallon water, salt, sugar, and peppercorns. Simmer until salt and sugar dissolve. About 15 minutes.
2. Allow to cool and place into larger container. Add remaining water. Add carrots, celery and herbs.
3. Place turkey and brine inside garbage bag or tub. Place in refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.
4. Be sure to rinse brine completely from turkey prior to cooking.
There it is. The secret to the best Thanksgiving dinner you’ve ever had.
Ok, I know I said I was only going to ask you to change one thing, but please consider these two tips as well.
Use fresh, stale bread for your stuffing. What on earth do I mean? Don’t use stuffing mix. Buy a couple of loaves of Italian, whole wheat, pumpernickel or one of each from the bakery department and cube and season the bread yourself. You can dry it out in the oven on low heat. It will taste better and you don’t have to worry about nasty preservatives and artificial flavorings. Also, if you plan on having rolls with dinner, do not make canned rolls. If you think that making your own is too much extra work, but you’re determined to have dinner rolls on the table, pick those up from the bakery as well and if possible, read the ingredients!
I could go on advising you to stay away from this or that, but what’s most important this week as you prepare for your Thanksgiving meal is to remember what this holiday means and be thankful for what you have. Also, don’t forget to help those less fortunate if you’re able. I’m sure many families are struggling this year with putting together a thanksgiving dinner and the food banks and shelters could use help more than ever.
So happy cooking to everyone this week! And may this be your best Thanksgiving yet.
Don’t forget – brining is not just for turkeys and Thanksgiving! You can brine your chickens and turkeys throughout the year!