Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Brine your bird!

The smells of Thanksgiving are coming to kitchens all around.

This year I have already cooked two birds in my two Thanksgiving intensive classes that were taught at the Inn at Essex.
I myself am honored to be attending a large feast, here in Vermont. I will bring a 3 1/2 pound Ginger Apple Pie and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with warm Bourbon Sauce. Yum!

Please email me if you have any Thanksgiving culinary questions at .

Now let's get serious. Brine your turkey! It will be flavorful, moist, and tender. Plus keep in mind that it will cook a bit faster. No excuses unless you are deep frying, brine your bird!

I have offered my Maple Brine recipe and a wonderful Port Cranberry Sauce that works great as a Thanksgiving side or to serve with all sorts of desserts.

Be well, have good thoughts and keep in touch!

Maple Turkey Brine

1 12-18 pound turkey
2 quarts chicken stock
1 large bag of Ice
1 gallon water
1 pound kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1 pound maple syrup
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 tablespoons allspice berries

1.Line very large (about 16-quart) bowl with two 30-gallon plastic bags, one inside the other. Rinse turkey inside and out. Place turkey in plastic-lined bowl or bucket.
2.Combine salt and hot water until it dissolves.
3.Add maple syrup, broth, herbs and spices to mixture. Once thoroughly mixed, add ice.
4.Pour cold brine over turkey in plastic bags. Brine must be cold. Gather tops of bags together, eliminating air space above brine; seal bags. Refrigerate turkey in brine 18 to 20 hours. You may also place your brining turkey in a the bag in a large cooler covered with ice and place it outside or in your garage.
5. When ready to roast remove turkey from brine and pat dry, then place in your roasting pan on a rack. You are now ready to roast your bird!!! Have fun.

Port Cranberry Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 - 18 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Makes: 8 – 10 servings

1 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries
½ to ¾ cup sugar
1 orange zested
1 cup port
¼ teaspoon cardamom or cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt

1. Assemble and cook:
-Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and place over a medium flame.
-Bring to a low boil.
-Cook until the cranberries pop and the mixture becomes syrupy, about 15 minutes.
2. Chill and serve:
-Place mixture in a serving dish and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
-Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

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