Classic Dry-Brined Turkey

Everyone will tell you that brining a turkey is a must. And for good reason. A few days in a salt water bath and the turkey comes out deeply seasoned and perfectly moist. With traditional brining, you submerge the turkey in a bucket of salt and seasoned water. I only did this one year and swore NEVER again. First of all finding a bucket big enough is a challenge, and second who has room in their fridge for a huge bucket of raw turkey water! The solution? Dry-brining. You simply cover the turkey in herbed salt and let it marinate for a couple days before Thanksgiving in a bag or pan. I’ve used a simple and classic combination of citrus zest, pepper, bay leaves and thyme.

For our dinner, we used a pasture raised turkey, which has much better flavor. Marin Sun Farms provided us with a Broad Breasted Bronze turkey from their farm for the occasion. Their turkeys are raised completely out on pasture in a way that resembles the natural behavior of wild turkeys– they even roost in trees and enjoy a diet of grasses, pasture plants and insects! Marin Sun Farms has a limited supply of several types of turkeys that you can have shipped to you, so order soon.

Dry brine turkey

Photography shot with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 digital SLR camera. Small in size, enormous in performance.

 Dry-brine ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt (for a 13-15 pound turkey)
  • 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoon of white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • zest of 4 lemons
  • 5 bay leaves
  • Unsalted butter, softened

Turkey 2

 

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And did I mention it’s gluten free? Read on . . .

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Start by peeling the papery skins off the shallots. To do this, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the shallots for just a minute and then drain them. The outside skin will slip off easily. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

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The Best Mashed Potatoes Ever

I know “best mashed potatoes ever” is a bold claim, but these mashed potatoes really are the silkiest, smoothest and creamiest mashed potatoes ever. Like, lick-the-bowl-clean good. I’ve been making mashed potatoes for years (they’re quite possibly my favorite form of carb) and have learned that there are certain tricks to making mashed potatoes heavenly. And no, my trick is not a pound of butter. First, I like to use a waxier potato like a Yukon Gold rather than Russet. Second, I’ve found that using a potato ricer (or food mill) is a must. It’s the only way to get that ultra-smooth texture. Also, make sure your cream is hot when you add it into the potatoes. Finally, I think just a little tangy creme fraiche cuts through the richness of the cream and butter in a way that is so subtle you probably won’t even notice it. Trust me, you want a big heaping bowl of this on your Thanksgiving table.

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Start by peeling your potatoes. Quarter the potatoes and add them to a medium pot of heavily-salted cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. In a small sauce pan, heat (don’t boil) the cream over medium low heat. Once the cream is hot, turn the heat down to low to keep the cream hot.

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pomegranate.spice.cocktail.recipe.9.1Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail
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How to Carve a Turkey + A Zwilling Giveaway

***CONTEST CLOSED, CONGRATULATIONS TOM SIDES!***

You might be wondering why we’re talking turkey so early in November. Well, it’s because I love Thanksgiving so so much, but mostly because we want you to be all set and ready to roast your bird come Thanksgiving day. We’re giving away this awesome Zwilling J.A. Henckels set: 1 stainless steel ceramic-coated roasting pan, 1 carving knife, 1 carving fork and 1 boning knife to a lucky reader!! To enter, simply (1) leave a comment on this post letting us know what you’d like to make for Thanksgiving and (2) like Zwilling J.A. Henckels on Facebook! A winner will be randomly chosen on November 17, 2014. (Limited to US & Canada residents only. Must be 18 and over. Winner will be contacted by email. Good luck!!!)

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