Early Thanksgiving Dinner


There was a defrosted turkey that needed to be cooked (due to Nick's deep fryer missing pieces...long story), so I decided to just roast it. I attempted brining for the first time, and it was definitely worth it! The night before I made the brining solution and then the turkey was roasted the next evening...with assistance from my helpers Nick and Tim ;) Obviously, they also helped in the eating process. Brine: Dissolve 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of brown sugar in 2 gallons of water. Once dissolved, add 4 sprigs of rosemary and thyme each, 1 orange cut up in 1/8ths and 1 lemon cut up in 1/8ths. Let the solution cool completely. I ended up refrigerating the brine overnight because I made it late and couldn't stay up to let it cool. Once cool, rinse and dry the turkey completely. Take out the neck, giblets, and liver. Some save that for the gravy or stock, but I do not use them. Submerge the turkey completely in the solution and seal tightly for approximate an hour per pound. I did mine for 12 hours. I used a stockpot which had a lid. Turkey: Take the turkey out of the solution, rinse and dry. Place in roasting pan breast side down. Rub the turkey all over with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper (inside and out). Fill the turkey's cavity with the following: 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk cut into 1 inch pieces, 1 onion cut into 1/8ths, and 2 sprigs of thyme. Preheat oven to 325 and roast for 1 hour. Turn the turkey. Baste with 1/2 cup of turkey stock. Bake another hour and baste with another 1/2 cup of turkey stock. Bake for another 45 minutes. Cook until thermometer reads 165 in the thickest part of the turkey.

Gravy: Remove turkey onto a cutting board for slicing. Remove rack of roasting pan. Set roasting pan over two burners on medium' to medium-low heat. Add 3 cups of turkey stock and 1 cup of chicken stock (I approximated this). Add 1 cup dry white wine, 4 tb unsalted butter and 1/4 cup flour. Deglaze pan by scraping up the bits and stirring together. Season with salt and pepper. Mashed Potatoes: Cut 4 medium potatoes into chunks (I peeled them, but you don't need to). Place in a pot of salted water and boil until cooked. Drain. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup fat free sour cream, 2 tb chives, salt and pepper. Mash together. Stuffing: I swear by Pepperidge Farms Herb Stuffing. Everyone always loves it and thinks you've slaved all day, when it's actually out of a package. You simply dice 1 cup each of celery and onion and cook in 3 tb butter in a saucepan. Add the stuffing and chicken broth (follow measurements on back of package, depending on how much you're making). I made the whole package and added approximately 1 cup of broth.

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