This year we roasted a pomegranate-brined turkey with chef Amanda Freitag at our fall test kichen. Once you’ve tasted pomegranate molasses — a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine — it’s hard not to pour it liberally into your turkey brine.
Here’s the deal with turkey: the bird itself is a cinch to prepare — the brine is cumbersome and time-consuming. However, the bird must be brined (all the chefs we interviewed say so), therefore roasting a turkey has developed a reputation for being harder to pull off than it is. In short: learn to brine, finagle your fridge to accomodate a brine bucket and rest easy not only because you’re in a turkey coma and your football team won, but because you know tomorrow’s leftovers are guaranteed to be as succulent and juicy as they could possibly be.
Steer clear of previously frozen turkeys — fresh makes all the difference and it’s as easy as pre-ordering it from your butcher or specialty market.
As far as the pan drippings from the final product…well, you know where they go.
- 1 12-14 pound turkey, giblets removed
- 1 batch pomegranate brine, (see below)
- 1 each lemon, orange and yellow onion, quartered
- 3 sprigs each rosemary, thyme and sage
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chicken stock
- kosher salt
- Using our handy guide starring chef Amanda Freitag, brine the turkey overnight.
- Drain the turkey and pat it completely dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place it in the roasting dish and preheat the oven to 425F.
- While the oven is heating, stuff the turkey cavity with the quartered orange, lemon and onion, as well as the fresh herbs.
- Using your hands, rub the butter over the entire turkey, sliding your fingers between the skin and meat under the breast on both sides to get as much butter under the skin as possible. No need to be fancy, just a good even coat, then sprinkle liberally with kosher salt.
- Tie the turkey's legs together with kitchen twine, fold the wing tips under the wings and the wings up and under the shoulders.
- Pour the chicken stock into the roasting dish and place the turkey in the oven. Roast at 425F for one hour, then lower the temperature to 325F and continue to roast for 17 minutes per pound, basting with the pan juices every 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes, preferably 30 or more, before carving and serving. In the meantime, add the pan juices to your gravy.
- Since the turkey was brined, its skin will brown faster. Keep foil handy to place over areas browning faster than the rest of the bird to ensure an evenly browned, crisp skin.
- Ignore the pop-up thermometer. Although should the button pop, your turkey is likely overcooked.
- Here is the easiest way to carve a turkey.