You'll want to pull the turkey out of the brine, let it drain and pat away the excess liquid about an hour before you want to roast it. To prevent any of the drippings that come off from burning during the first roasting period, a cup of broth is added to the bottom of the pan. You'll want to turn on the light and peek through the door to make sure that there is a slight layer on the bottom while it cooks - if it ever looks too dry, just add a bit more broth.
When the turkey was golden and cooked through, we set it aside to let the juices flow back into the meat. This gave us enough time to work on the cider gravy! The crusty bits on the bottom of the roasting pan were scraped up, with a bit of the leftover fat from the cooked turkey being added in, along with a sprinkling of flour. The drippings, sans fat, were poured in with a bit more broth and the tangy apple cider. After just a couple minutes of bubbling, it thickened up well and all that was needed were a few grains of black pepper. A little sweet, but quite savory and rich, Jeff kept himself busy "taste-testing" it just to make sure it was good... he was quite happy with the results! Score 1 for delicious smooth gravy!
After what felt like forever for the turkey to rest, we anxiously sliced into the bird to see what was hiding underneath. I hastily peeled off a piece of the white meat (which came off without effort) to see how well we did. We found it to be extraordinarily juicy, tender and very well-seasoned! Jeff admitted he was a little worried it might end up being too salty, but after his bite, he couldn't believe the magic the brine did! Instead of being inundated with the strong spices that the turkey bathed in overnight, they left behind a simply pleasant, faint and sweet character that lifted up the meat's natural flavor. I probably nibbled on more than I would usually put on my plate before I even started getting it filled up!
And as we are sweet fiends, we of course did not forget about dessert. However, I haven't had a chance (so full!) to dig into it yet. Here's a little sneak peek for now and we will talk about what exactly this pumpkin treat was tomorrow!
Roasted Garlic and Fresh Rosemary Cloverleaf Rolls
Sausage, Apple, and Fennel Corn Bread Dressing