Friday, November 27, 2009


That's what my husband told me last night during our Thanksgiving Dinner! Isn't he sweet? And I'm going to totally brag and agree with him. It was.The turkey was super moist and full of flavor. I thought we were crazy for making a whole turkey for just the three of us, but I am very glad we did. It was very nice, even if Oliver was in a mood and wouldn't eat a bite of it. We made just a few of our favorite sides (stuffing, corn pudding, green beans), and made room in the fridge for leftovers.

So I thought I'd share the recipe so you all can have yummy turkey next year too!

I've actually made this recipe before, and we've enjoyed it enough that it is my go-to Thanksgiving recipe. The original recipe is from Cooking Light, but over the years I've made a few adjustments here and there. I first brined it a few years ago, but this year did an apple cider brine, and that is what we think pushed this year's turkey over the edge to fabulousness. One other change from the original is that I do not make their gravy. Neither Marty nor I are gravy fans, so I just leave that step off. But if you are a gravy fan, that part is included in the original link above. So here's my version of the recipe, including the brining instructions. Enjoy!

Parmesan-Sage Roast Turkey

1 gallon apple cider
1 cup kosher salt (yes, it must be kosher salt)
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh sage
1 gallon cold water (or less)

Heat 2 cups of the apple cider with kosher salt until salt is dissolved. Cool completely.
Put a brining bag in roasting pan. Place turkey (giblets, etc. removed) in bag. Pour the cider/salt mixture, the rest of the cider, and all the seasonings over the turkey in the bag. Add up to 1 gallon water to ensure the turkey is completely submerged. Put in refrigerator for 8-18 hours (overnight).

2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped apple
10 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup apple cider
1 (13 pound) turkey
1/3 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
5 tablespoons butter, softened (divided)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in bottom of a shallow roasting pan. Remove turkey from brining bag, pat dry, and place on top of vegetables. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey.

In small bowl, combine cheese, sage, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper; rub mixture under the loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Squeeze lemon juice over the whole turkey. Place lemon halves in turkey cavity. Place fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs in cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen string.

Bake at 425° for 30 minutes, watching to make sure top doesn’t get too dark. Pour broth over turkey. Tent turkey breast loosely with foil, if needed to prevent burnt skin. Bake an additional 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325° (do not remove turkey from oven). Bake at 325° for 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Remove turkey from pan. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Carve. Remove whole breasts from the turkey, then slice across the grain. This makes a juicier slice of turkey!

I think I'll post some more of my favorite holiday recipes...keep watching for them!

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