Apple Brined Roast Turkey

Servings: 12- 15

2 qt. (8  cups)  apple cider or apple juice
1  (12-15 lbs.) fresh turkey
2 oranges
2 apples
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large onion
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh thyme
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1 cup kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp. whole allspice
2 Tbsp. whole cloves
4 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Prepare brine
Crush the black peppercorns and the allspice in a mortar and pestle, or using a knife blade and a cutting board. In a large saucepan, combine the crushed peppercorns and allspice with the apple cider, kosher salt, granulated sugar, cloves, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and heat for five to ten minutes. Stir to be sure the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool.

Prepare fruit
Quarter the oranges and apples.

Brine turkey
Rinse the turkey. Remove the giblets and neck, reserve if making turkey gravy. Stuff the turkey with the fruit. Place the turkey in a large brining bag. Carefully pour the cooled bring mixture into the bag and secure the bag closed. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan inside the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and as much as two days. Turn the turkey several times while brining.

Prepare turkey
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees-F. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse the turkey, discard the fruit and brine. Pat the turkey dry. Loosen the turkey skin with fingers. Spread the butter between the skin and the meat, reaching as much area as possible. Quarter the onion. Stuff the cavity with the onion, garlic, and fresh herbs, using as much as will fit. Tie the turkey legs together with butcher twine.

Roast turkey, breast side down
Arrange the turkey, breast side down on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Season the turkey with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes.

Roast turkey, breast side up
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees-F. Remove turkey from oven and careful turn the turkey over, breast side up. Cover with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Roast for two hours, checking the temperature in the thigh. When done the thermometer will read 170 degrees-F. Remove the aluminum foil when the temperature is around 150 degrees-F to allow the breast to brown.

Rest turkey and serve
Allow the turkey to stand stand 20 minutes before carving and serving.

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