Happy Thanksgiving . Yes, in Canada we celebrate it more than a month earlier than our American neighbours. but other than not having the infamous "Black Friday" Sales, our Thanksgiving can be just as hectic and freaky ! I've done it all , as much as 20 people at 2 tables, to just Ron and I. To be truthful I as I am getting older I yearn for just the quiet 2 or 4 some dinner, but alas to date it is still at least 10 people squished around the table. This year we were 8 and there was a little more breathing room.
I have scaled back with the preparations. I no longer stuff the bird and turn it into a 3-4 day production. I now buy a fresh bird and just brine it the night before and then at a decent hour the next morning roast the bird, with the cavity just filled with an aromatic filling. Besides the bird we make the mashed potatoes, maple carrots, my sister brought the stuffing, Kohlrabi in a cream sauce the cranberry ring, and a refreshing cucumber salad. There was plenty of both red and white wine and of course the obligatory pumpkin pie , creme caramel, banana bread, assorted chocolates and sugar pie. ( A bit overkill in the desserts, but that's ok.)
However, back to the bird... I've been braining the bird for the past 3 years now and I must say for me it is the only way to go. There are many brine sachets you can buy, but why bother when it is so easy to make your own. There are probably many brine recipes out there and they are all good, find one that appeals to you and give ita try. I swear you'll never go back, to the old way of preparing your turkey. The bird was so moist, tender and flavourful. I used to even make an aromatic butter and rub the entire bird under the skin with this mixture, but now find that brining the bird gives it more flavour without all that extra fat!
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1tsp black pepper corns
1tsp all spice berries
1 cinnamon stick
6 sprigs of rosemary
6 sprigs of thyme
6 sage leaves
1 1/2tsp. chopped candied ginger
Simmer above ingredients , let cool . To a large tub /pail (over 5 gallon) add 1 gallon of ice cubes, the turkey and cooled brine . Place in fridge and marinate over night.
The next morning remove turkey, wipe down, rub with canola oil, season with salt/ pepper and herbs of your choice. Place the aromatic filling in cavity and roast your bird according to the weight of your bird. When internal temperature reaches 170 degrees start basting the bird every 5 minutes for an additional 30 minutes to brown the bird. Let the bird rest before carving.
In a bowl place 1 carrot roughly chopped, 1 onion quartered, 1 apple quartered, 6sage leaves, 6 sprigsrosemary, 1 stick cinnamon ,1 bay leaf, 1 cup water, microwave for 5 minutes. Remove the filling and stuff the cavity with this stuffing. You can put the water in the bottom of roasting pan or discard it.
6 springs of sage