Saturday, October 9, 2010

Turkey Tales Pt 3 - The Day Before

So. The big day is tomorrow!

I gave in last night and let my turkey soak in a 'pre-brine' - still in the package, but floating in a cool bath in the fridge to speed up the thawing process. It worked because the bird was nice and squishy the next morning - ready for the final brine! I had a couple extra things to pick up, so I joined the hordes of people at the local grocery store to pick up some last minute items. The mothership graciously picked up all the items on my list (that I had meticulously itemized by department and then specified quantity & size with descriptions to aid her) and had packed it all up in my fridge, but there were a few things I wanted to pick out  myself. Or that I knew she would have some difficulties finding. I made it home and started the process for my brine - here's what it looked like in the stockpot:
Included in this brine are: 1 sliced apple, 2 sprigs fresh sage, 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 5 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 3 sticks of cinnamon, 2 cups of coarse salt and 2 litres of apple cider.

After bringing this to a boil, I added about 3L of cool water to bring down the temperature. After about 30 minutes, I transferred it over to my brining tub and added more water. You must not soak your turkey until your brining liquid is cool - I forgot why, but it's got something to do with bacterial growth I think. I'll be sure to do some research and update this post.
(below - brining tub with brine, turkey in brine in fridge!)

So fingers crossed it will work out. I'm taking it out at around 8am to dry and chill. At around noon it should be stuffed and ready to be cooked! I also worked on the cranberry sauce - which is super easy. It's basically a cranberry jam. I've done it in the past with dried cherries and it worked out really well so I made it again, although I don't remember which recipe I used so I had to kind if improvise a bit. Here's a picture of it in the saucepan with all the key ingredients:
Included is - 1 package of cranberries, 1 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 cup of water.

Let cook, enjoy hearing the cranberries pop and smush away! The cranberries should release all their wonderful juice and let reduce, like jam! I still had the entire day ahead of me, so under Koi's supervision I also prepared the 'onion part' of a roasted onion/gruyere dish I'm adding tomorrow. It's pretty much different kinds of onions, lightly seasoned and then roasted until soft. Prep some croutons & sprinkle on top and then add gruyere cheese and bake until bubbly! I decided to get ahead of the game and roast the onions, which will save me a lot of time tomorrow. It will reheat in the oven while the turkey is resting before carving.

So T-minus 19 hours until eating time!

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