There is a 12 lb turkey sitting in my canning pot. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because the brine I mad of salt, sugar, water, vegetables and a spices is slowly seeping into the flesh. It’s bad because I didn’t inject the brine directly into the turkey as they do at the Modernist Cuisine lab. This is so none of the turkey proteins or juices (or whatever else??) leach into the water, but as I don’t have a bunch of needles hanging around, my best bet is a big pot of salted, sweetened water. Although, now I’m thinking of ho I could jerry-rig a way to hang the bird in the canning pot without the brine, à la Peking duck in Chinese store windows…next time.
The other reason this brining is bad is because it’s employing my canning pot when I want to make lemon-honey apple jam. Guess I’ll just have to keep eating my raw, hand-picked apples from Maniadakis Orchards. Aw well. I do already have 9 jars of “apple pie in a jar” and 6 jars of apple butter in my preserving cupboard, waiting to be sold or given away as gifts. No need to go over the top, apple-wise.
Normally I wouldn’t brine a turkey in the first place. I would toss it in the slow-cooker after searing the outside (better to sear after, but easier to sear before) and let it cook to perfection. No way you’ll overcook anything, which is what brining helps you avoid. It keeps that dry breast meat juicy, even though it has a different ideal temp than the leg meat, and you can’t only cook at one temperature in your oven, so generally your turkey breasts end up dry. Which is sad, but fine, and really, most people don’t care, myself included. But why not brine? I figured. I had the pot, the ingredients, and the New York times Essential Cook Book with a recipe I could trust.
Thus, a 12 lb bird in my fridge. Waiting. Just waiting for tomorrow and its almost three hours in the oven, roasting away. It will be exceptional. It will be exceptional. It will be exceptional. If I keep repeating the mantra, I will not mess it up. T-minus 36 hours until Thanksgiving dinner. I’m pumped.
The rest of the Thanksgiving menu:
Mesclun green salad with cranberries, orange and fennel with spiced pecans
Maple-Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Potato and Leek Galette with Watercress
Green Beans With Shallots and Almonds
Roasted Pears and Red Onions (instead of cranberry sauce)
Joe Beef Carrots with Honey
Vanilla Madeleines with crabapple-lavendar jam
I’m not tackling this myself. I will have help from two friends. Thanks in advance to these lovely ladies.