Brined and Oven-Roasted Turkey
Brining adds moisture to the turkey, making it difficult to dry out and overcook. From the book "Mad Hungry" by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).
- 2 quarts water (at the very least)
- 1 1/2 cups coarse salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 head of garlic, smashed (8 to 10 cloves)
- 2 bottles white wine
Brine Add-Ins (Optional)
- 2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried coriander
- 1 tablespoon dried fennel
- 1 tablespoon dried cumin
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 large sprigs fresh sage
- One 16-pound turkey (approximate)
- 1 Sausage Bread Stuffing
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a 2-quart pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with the salt and sugar, stirring occasionally until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Cool completely and place in a clean 5-gallon bucket with the onion, garlic, wine, and any of the optional spices or herbs. Stir in the remaining water completely to combine. Add the turkey. Cover and store in a cold place for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Turn bird occasionally.
Drain the turkey, pat dry, and bring to room temperature an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Stuff the cavity and neck of the bird with the stuffing. Truss or tie the cavity closed. Tuck the wings under the breast and place in the roasting pan. Rub the bird all over with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the bird for 2 to 3 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of a leg reaches 165 degrees. After 1 hour, baste every 30 minutes with pan juices. After 2 hours, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.