recipes from the escobosa kitchen

Roasted Heritage Turkey

This was one of the best turkeys we have ever had... But chances are that was because it was beginners’ luck as it was also the first turkey we had ever cooked. Note that the brine will do most of the seasoning, so don't salt the turkey after brining; also don't add salt to your stuffing if you plan to put it inside the bird. Some of the salt from the brine remains in the cavity and can season the stuffing. To be safe, some cooks recommend baking the stuffing separately.

source Various
Ingredients
for about 88 people
  • 1 12-18 pound fresh heritage turkey at room temperature
  • 0 fresh ground pepper
  • 4 cups giblet broth
  • 0 Rosemary Maple Butter
  • 0 Oiled parchment paper
  • Brine
  • 2.52 ½ gallons cold water
  • 1.51 ½ cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 5 allspice berries, crushed
  • 4 juniper berries, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 0.5½ cup orange juice
  • 0.5½ bunch sage
  • For Inside the Bird
  • 0 apple, sliced
  • 0 orange, sections
  • 0 thyme
  • 0 onion
  • 0 butter
  • 0 pepper
  • Giblet Broth
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 0 giblets & neck
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Rosemary Maple Butter
  • 0.5½ pound butter
  • 0.5½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
Preparation
  1. Add the cold water, salt and sugar to a large food-grade container; stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the bay leaves, thyme, sage, garlic, allspice and juniper berries. Stir in the orange juice and zest.
  2. Prepare a vessel and location for brining the turkey. If there's enough room in your fridge, place the turkey in a large stockpot (stainless steel, not aluminum, because the salt could cause pitting) or a food-grade bucket (available at some bakeries and restaurants for a nominal charge). You can also use a plastic oven-roasting bag (be sure to double or triple them since they can break), XXL Ziploc bag or special turkey-roasting bag, sold at gourmet stores. If the fridge isn't an option, use a picnic cooler to hold the bird-in-a-bag. Surround it with ice or freezer packs, and remind yourself to check on it frequently, because the temperature inside the container needs to be below 40 degrees the whole time (use a refrigerator or instant-read thermometer).
  3. Pour in enough brine so all the bird is covered. (If using a bag, pressing out extra air makes this easier. Seal the bag securely with kitchen twine or the plastic tab seals that come with the bags. Set the bag in a wide bowl or a roasting pan to stabilize the bird and catch any leaks.) Refrigerate on the bottom shelf of your fridge or in a cooler with ice left out on the back porch for 12 to 24 hours but no more; it can get mushy if left longer.
  4. While the bird is brining make the giblet broth. Simmer everything in a small saucepan for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and neck. Giblets can be discarded if they aren't your type of thing or they can be finely chopped and added to the broth.
  5. Next, make the rosemary butter by bringing butter to room temperature and whipping all ingredients together. If you need to store the butter, wrap it in wax paper and place in the fridge. Remember to take it out 30 minutes before you need to use it.
  6. When you're ready to roast the turkey, remove it from the brine and rinse it well inside and out with cool water.
  7. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  8. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the apple, orange, butter, thyme and onion pieces making sure to leave enough room for the air to circulate inside.
  9. Loosen the skin around the breast with your fingers and insert Rosemary Maple Butter between the meat and the skin as well as on the inside of the bird's cavity.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  11. Set bird in deep roasting pan. Use a wire rack to lift the bird off the bottom of the pan. Add the giblet broth to the bottom of the pan. Using a sheet of oiled parchment paper, tent the roasting pan with the oiled parchment paper. Any type of cooking oil can be used. Brush it on both sides with a pastry brush. The parchment paper is easily affixed to the roasting pan with a strip of foil on each end or you can use clean, oiled wooden clothespins. Remove parchment paper and the last 30 minutes of cooking to develop a crispy, golden skin.
  12. Baste the bird when you remove the parchment tent. If there is not enough liquid for basting, add either more water or wine.
  13. Roast the bird until the thigh temperature reaches 155F-165F.
  14. Let the bird rest 20-30 minutes before carving to let the juices settle.