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Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy


Serving size 6 oz turkey, 2.5 TBS gravy

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  • Brine:
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 3/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 6 (2 inch) strips orange rind
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • Turkey:
  • 1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 3 TBS butter, softened
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 apple, cut into wedges
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 sage sprig
  • 1/2 orange, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • Cooking spray
  • Gravy:
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 3 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 TBS cider vinegar


Servings 12


Step 1

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large stock pot over high heat; cook 6 minutes or until salt dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add 1 gallon cold water. Cool to room temperature.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve neck. Trim excess fat; add turkey to brine. Refrigerate 18 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375. Remove turkey from brine, discard brine. Pat turkey dry. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Combine 3 TBS butter and next 3 ingredients (through 1/2 tsp pepper) in a small bowl; rub butter mixture under loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over the back; tuck under turkey. Place apple and next 5 ingredients (through onion) in the body cavity. Secure legs with kitchen twine. Place turkey on rack or a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place neck in bottom of roasting pan; place rack with turkey in pan. Bake at 375 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cover turkey loosely with foil, bake an additional 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh regsiters 165. Remove from oven; place turkey on a cutting board. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes; discard neck and akin.

Place a ziplock bag inside a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top), Seal bag; carefully snip off the one bottom corner bag, Drain drippings into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

Melt 1 TBS butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add thyme and shallot; saute 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cider and bourbon; boil 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Combine 1/4 cup broth and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture, remaining 1 cup broth, and drippings to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and vinegar.

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