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Brining in the Holidays

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Brined and Roasted Turkey
Apple Dressing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Wisconsin Potato Spice Cake

(Family Features) - A festive, golden-brown roast turkey and savory side dishes are guaranteed to bring smiles to friends and family at the holiday table. After all, there's a comfort in those well-loved classics. But with a few new twists, these traditional dishes can be even better.

Start with the turkey. Since you'll want lots of leftovers, figure on two pounds of turkey per person. Then try something new -- brining. Many chefs recommend this technique, which can transform your turkey into a mouthwatering masterpiece. Brining your turkey will help avoid one of the top complaints about meat -- dryness.

The Magic of Brining

Brining is the process of soaking meat in a salt-based tenderizing solution before cooking it. Salt naturally draws out foods' true flavors and juices. Any salt can be used, but many chefs prefer Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because its flakes dissolve quickly in water, has no anticaking agents or additives and it tastes fresh and light, perfect qualities for creating a brine. In addition to plumping up your holiday bird with seasoned moisture, flavor and tenderness are retained throughout cooking. And brining does not make your turkey, stock or leftovers taste salty. In fact, they will taste better and juicier than usual.

Start some of your own traditions by offering new flavor sensations to the standard holiday fare, such as the classic mashed potatoes. Try using two Wisconsin potato varieties -- Russet and Yellow Flesh -- produced in a nationally recognized, environmentally friendly way. For an even fluffier result, try adding 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the potatoes before you mash them. Freeze dollops of leftover mashed potatoes and use to thicken soups, stews, gravies and sauces.

For a complete guide to thawing and cooking a turkey, including an online meal planner and leftover turkey recipes, visit www.honeysucklewhite.com or www.shadybrookfarms.com.

Brined and Roasted Turkey

Ingredients
  • 1 Honeysuckle White or Shady Brook Farms Whole Turkey, 15 to 18 pounds
Flavored Brine Solution
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 3/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice or cider
  • 1 cup maple syrup, warmed
  • 3 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled fresh or dried sage leaves
  • 1 small tea towel
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Preparation
    1. Two days before meal - Select container to hold turkey comfortably, leaving at least 3 inches of space above bird. Be certain container fits in refrigerator; remove shelf if necessary.
    2. Remove neck and packet of innards and refrigerate if using for gravy, or discard. Put turkey into container.
    3. Mix water with kosher salt, apple juice, maple syrup, black pepper and sage. Stir until salt and syrup are dissolved. Pour brine over turkey.
    4. If turkey is not fully submerged, make additional brine 3 tablespoons kosher salt for each quart of water - and add until turkey is completely covered. Cover container; transfer to refrigerator.
    5. Evening before meal - Drain turkey thoroughly, cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.
    6. Meal day - One hour before cooking, rinse turkey in cool water and pat dry with tea towel.
    7. Fill both cavities with dressing, being careful not to pack tightly. Truss and set turkey, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan.
    8. Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Soak tea towel in butter until completely absorbed. Cover entire breast area of turkey with towel. Be sure legs are exposed. Drape aluminum foil loosely over turkey.
    9. Place turkey in oven and immediately reduce heat to 325°F. Roast 20 minutes per pound, or until thickest part of leg reaches internal temperature of 150°F. About 1 1/2 hours before turkey is done, remove aluminum foil and tea towel so breast skin can brown.
    10. Remove from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest 30 to 60 minutes.
    11. Carve and place on platter.

Serves
Serves 10 to 12

Apple Dressing

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds sweet-tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 large celery stalks, diced
  • Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Honeysuckle White or Shady Brook Farms Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves*
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves*
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh summer savory leaves*
  • 10 cups cubed two-day old sourdough bread
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped

Preparation
    1. Toss first three ingredients and set aside.
    2. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and celery; sauté about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add sausage; crumble and cook over medium- high heat until browned. Transfer mixture to bowl.
    3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan, increase heat to medium; sauté apples, turning frequently, until they begin to color and soften. Add to sausage mixture, along with sage, thyme and savory. Season with salt and pepper; add bread and walnuts and toss.

Serves
Serves 10 to 12

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*Can use dry herbs in place of fresh; 1 tablespoon = 1 teaspoon dry

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
  • 10 large Wisconsin potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Preparation
    1. Place potatoes, garlic and 2 teaspoons salt in large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Bring to boil; reduce heat.
    2. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender; drain.
    3. Transfer potatoes and garlic to mixing bowl; mash.
    4. Add butter, cream and remaining salt; beat until smooth.

Serves
Serves 10 to 12

Wisconsin Potato Spice Cake

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup mashed Wisconsin potatoes, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • Caramel frosting (prepared)

Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9 x 13-inch pan. Cream sugar and shortening until fluffy. Add potatoes and eggs; blend well.
    2. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and baking powder; mix lightly.
    3. Beat dry ingredients and milk into creamed mixture until well blended.
    4. Stir in raisins. Pour into pan. Bake 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Serves
Serves 6

SOURCE: Wisconsin Potatoes
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms
Cargill


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