November 20, 2011

Turkey, Stuffing and Cider Glaze

"Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers."
- Edgar A. Guest, Thanksgiving

A Maine House Mosaic

 A brine makes turkey or any poultry moist, juicy, and delicious.
The recipe below, with the sausage stuffing and cider glaze,
makes this dish perfect for the holidays.

Estelle's Savory Tip
To brine a whole turkey, quadruple the
 brine ingredients below.

The Turkey
2 1-1/2 to 2-lb. boneless turkey breasts
1 qt. vegetable stock
1 qt. apple cider
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp. dried sage
1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme
1/2 Tbsp. dried rosemary, crushed
2 qts. ice water

The Stuffing
1 lb. loose sage sausage
3/4 cup onion, diced
1-1/2 cups celery, diced
3/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 (10.75-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
12 cups soft bread, cubed

The Cider Glaze
6 cups apple cider
2 Tbsp. maple syrup

To prepare the brine for the turkey, combine all ingredients above except the ice water in a large saucepot or stockpot. Bring to a boil; cook until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When the brine is room temperature, add the ice water. Add the turkey breasts to brine, being sure that the turkey is completely submerged; refrigerate in the brine for 12 - 18 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Place each breast, skin side up, in a casserole dish or on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 90 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165°F.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Start by cooking the sausage over medium heat in a large skillet until evenly browned. Add the onion, celery, butter, black pepper, and thyme. Continue to cook until onions and celery are translucent. Add the mushroom soup and chicken stock, stir until combined, and bring to boil.

Remove from heat then fold the bread cubes into the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

To prepare the cider glaze, cook the apple cider in a large saucepan over medium heat until it reduces down and becomes a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup. Drizzle over the stuffing and sliced turkey breast. Now, you are ready to serve.

"Come said the wind to the leaves one day,
Come o're the meadows and we will play.
Put on your dresses of scarlet and gold,
summer is gone and the days grow cold."
A Children's Song of the 1880's

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