Sunday, May 15, 2005

Spice-Brined Turkey with Cider Pan Gravy

Spice-Brined Turkey with Cider Pan Gravy (Adapted from CL)

5 quarts water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons coarsely crushed black peppercorns
2 tablespoons coarsely crushed cardamom pods
2 tablespoons coarsely crushed cloves
2 tablespoons coarsely crushed whole allspice
12 to 14 pound fresh turkey
1 3/4 cups chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
fresh ground black pepper

In a large stockpot, add water, salt, ginger, pepper, cardamom, cloves and allspice. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the salt has been dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

Place a brining bag in a large pot and add turkey into the bag. Pour brine over turkey - cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the turkey occasionally.

Remove turkey from brine and discard brine - let turkey rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour while the oven preheats to 450 degrees.

Rinse turkey well - drain and pat dry. Place turkey, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Pour 1 cup broth into pan. Place pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees after 30 minutes and continue to bake until a meat thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers about 160 to 165 degrees, about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove turkey from the oven and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Pour drippings from the turkey into a fat separator and let stand for a few minutes. Pour drippings, leaving the fat behind, remaining broth and cider in a small bowl. Place roasting pan on top of the stove over medium meat, scraping to loosen browned bits. Add flour and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the fat left behind in the fat separator into the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper.

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