Sunday, November 29, 2009


We hope you all had a nice and relaxing holiday, filled with delicious food. I have to admit that I started prepping the meal on Tuesday and made the dessert on the day before. I was not really in the mood for one GIANT mess on Thursday. And I was over the mess on Wednesday night with the cheesecake. In the end it was woth it all, especially the easy leftover meals the last 2 nights.
Our menu was on the small side this year... which ended up being perfect.

Shrimp Cocktail and Bloody Mary's to start
Roasted Turkey
Mashed Hawaiian Purple Heart Sweet Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Maple Syrup
My grandma's Classic Dressing
Thick and Creamy Gravy
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Fresh Baked Italian Bread with Herbed Butter
Pumkin Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
(look for the cheesecake details in an upcoming post)

John and I usually get a turkey breast, but as I was strolling Safeway, I saw they were offering up 0-16lb Safeway brand turkey's for $3.97 with a $20 purchase. I was skeptical of the "cheap" bird at first, then my desire to penny pinch took over. I brought the frozen 13.4lb bird home and thawed it 2 days in the fridge. On Wednesday I made a brine, something I had never done before. AND I CAN SAY IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! I bought a nice big aluminum roasting pan, lined it with double trash bags, placed the bird in and poured the brine over. Every few hours I headed to the fridge to turn the bird since it was only submerged halfway. How do people brine larger birds? In what? who has a fridge that big?

For this brine I used:

3 cans chicken stock
1/2 gallon water
42 ice cubes

1 1/2 cups salt
3 tablespoons coarse cracked black pepper
1 branch fresh rosemary
25 sage leaves torn apart
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
zest and juice of 1 large orange, then toss in the orange
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup chopped chives

Bring all to a boil, cool for 25-30 minutes, add ice cubes to further cool. Pour over turkey and brine for 8-24 hours. I went for 20 hours. Turn bird every 2 hours during the day and once more as soon as you wake up. Remove bird and place in roasting pan adding 1 cup water. Smother with butter and pepper. Roast 3-4 hours, covering bird when it starts to get golden, usually the last hour.


James said...

What did you put in the mashed hawaiian sweet potatoes?

Conn said...

just a little sour cream and some butter.
they really didn't even need that. quite possibly one of my favorite veggies.

we are going to try to plant a few pieces and see if we can get them to grow.

Paul Jones said...

Conn - when we brine our turkey, we use a 6 gallon food service bucket. It fits in one side of the fridge if you remove a shelf, and you can stack things on top of it, so you don't lose that much room. Since the bird is completely covered in the brine, you don't have to turn it! One of the big hotels should have buckets like that that they are throwing out. I've seen lard, fry oil and sometimes even flour in them. Brined turkey is the moistest and best!