Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy

Photo: Charles Masters

Use your largest stockpot for brining the bird, or a brining bag.

Yield: Serves 12 (serving size: 6 ounces turkey and 2 1/2 tablespoons gravy)
Total:
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Recipe Time

Hands On: 40 Minutes
Total: 20 Hours, 40 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 326
  • Fat: 8.4g
  • Saturated fat: 3.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Protein: 51g
  • Carbohydrate: 7g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Cholesterol: 177mg
  • Iron: 3.6mg
  • Sodium: 566mg
  • Calcium: 42mg

Ingredients

  • Brine:
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground 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 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon 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 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Preparation

  1. 1. To prepare brine, combine first 9 ingredients in a large stockpot over high heat; cook 6 minutes or until salt dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add 1 gallon cold water. Cool to room temperature.
  2. 2. To prepare turkey, remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve neck. Trim excess fat; add turkey to brine. Refrigerate 18 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. 3. Preheat oven to 375°.
  4. 4. 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 tablespoons butter and next 3 ingredients (through 1/2 teaspoon pepper) in a small bowl; rub butter mixture under loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Place apple and next 5 ingredients (through onion) in the body cavity. Secure legs with kitchen twine. Place turkey on the rack of 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 thickest part of thigh registers 165°. Remove from oven; place turkey on a cutting board. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes; discard neck and skin.
  5. 5. To prepare gravy, place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off one bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.
  6. 6. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add thyme and shallot; sauté 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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