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Brining meat infuses it with flavour and moisture. The bird must brine for at least 12 hours, so make sure you get started a day ahead. There are many excellent brine recipes available online. Here’s the one Jasmin uses every year for a juicy and flavourful turkey every time.
1 turkey 16-18 lbs, completely defrosted
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 L filtered cold water
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries (or 1 tsp ground)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
More cold filtered water
For the aromatics:
1 tart apple, sliced
1/2 onion, cut in quarters
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary (or 1 Tbsp dried)
6 leaves sage (or 1 Tbsp dried)
1) Remove giblets from turkey and reserve for another use.
2) Combine the 4L water, kosher salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until cold.
3) Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
4) Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
5) Place the bird on roasting rack and pat dry with paper towels.
6) In a small sauce pan, combine the apple, onion, cinnamon, rosemary, sage, and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the apple is very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the try rosemary and sage, or if using. Pour this mixture into the cavity of the bird. If using fresh rosemary and sage, place these inside the cavity on top of the apple mixture. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
7) Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Brined birds cook much faster than unbrined birds, so a 16-18lb bird should take 2 1/2 to 3 hours of roasting.
8) The turkey is done when a meat thermometer reads 85C (185F) in the thickest part of the breast.
9) Remove the turkey from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest 15-30 minutes before serving. This will help the internal juices redistribute and will make the bird easier to carve.
10) While the turkey rests, make the gravy. Place the roasting pan on the stove top on high heat. Add 1 L chicken or turkey broth and bring to a boil. Stir to remove browned bits from the bottom. Combine corn starch and cold water; whisk into boiling gravy and continue stirring until desired thickness is reached. Serve gravy with turkey.