Alsatian-Brined Turkey With Riesling Gravy
- Ready In:
- 5 quarts cold water
- 2 cups cold water
- kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 1⁄4 cup dried onion flakes
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 2 tablespoons juniper berries, lightly crushed
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 (18 lb) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved for another use
- 2 1⁄2 cups riesling wine
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1⁄2 cups rich turkey stock (Recipe #143924) or 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- fresh ground pepper
- In a large pot, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil. Add 1 1/4 cups of kosher salt, the sugar, mustard seeds, dried onion, caraway seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries and bay leaves. Stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove pot from heat.
- Line a container large enough to hold the turkey with two sturdy plastic bags. Put the turkey into the bags, neck first. Pour the warm brine over the turkey. Add 1 1/2 cups of the Riesling and 4 quarts of the cold water. Seal the bags; press out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 2 days.
- On Thanksgiving morning, preheat the oven to 350°. Drain the turkey, scraping off the spices, then transfer it to a large roasting pan and let it return to room temperature. If your family or guests are salt sensitive be sure to wash the turkey very well under cold water and dry completely with paper towels. Discard brine.
- Add the quartered onion, garlic and 1 cup of water to the pan and roast the turkey for 1 1/2 hours. Add the remaining 1 cup of water to the pan and roast for about 1 1/2 hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into an inner thigh registers 165°. Cover the breast loosely with foil during the last hour of roasting to prevent it from browning too quickly.
- Transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Strain the pan juices into a measuring cup and skim off the fat; reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat. In a bowl, mix the reserved fat with the flour until a paste forms.
- Place roasting pan over 2 burners and heat until sizzling. Add 1 cup of Riesling and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Strain the wine into a medium saucepan and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and the reserved pan juices and bring to a boil. Whisk in the flour paste and simmer over moderate heat until the gravy thickens slightly and no floury taste remains, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Carve and serve with the Riesling gravy on the side.
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My sister has used this recipe for years and I used it for the first time yesterday. My first roasted turkey and it was a big hit. Like my sister, I splurged on an organic free range turkey. Followed the brining as instructed. Didn't realize how long it would take for the bird to come to room temperature, so used a 450 degree oven for the first 30 minutes, then brought the temp down. Skin got very brown and used foil tent for the last half hour. I stuffed the bird before roasting, and did a different gravy, though incorporated the reisling. I didn't rinse the bird before roasting and it was fairly salty, though I am sensitive to salt. I never eat turkey, but will probably do this again over the winter because the leftovers are so good.
This brine really did produce the moistest and most flavorful turkey that I have ever made. It got 14 unanimous thumbs up! I followed the recipe and only substituted a whole large sliced onion for the dried. It was easy and perfectly seasoned -not at all salty. I did not make the gravy but did use a small amount of the drippings to season my gravy. I like to use two oven bags and an appropriate sized vessel for soaking and have also used the bags and a cooler with ice packs when the bird was too large for my fridge. Just make sure to keep replenishing the ice or packs! This recipe has a permanant spot in my file.
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