Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey and Apple Cranberry Sauce

I love the holidays and the delicious food that comes with them! While my Thanksgiving was a little late, it was still wonderful! I took the time to brine my little 9lb turkey and what a difference it made!  Even though I misjudged time and overcooked the turkey, it was still moist and flavorful. I made the brine the day before I cooked the turkey and allowed it to marinate overnight, about 12 hours. Here is my recipe…

Turkey Brine 
¾ gallon water
1 cup apple cider
1 ¼ cup salt (canning and pickling salt is perfect)
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice berries
2 tablespoons pickling spice
10 fresh sage leaves
2 quarts ice

Heat the salt and sugar with ½ gallon of water. Add cider, vinegar, spices, remaining water and ice to food safe bucket or other large vessel. Once sugar and salt are dissolved, add to bucket with remaining ingredients. Add turkey and weigh down with a plate to keep turkey submerged. You may need a gallon freezer bag or other container to set on the plate to help weigh it down. Brine about 12 hours for a small bird, or up to 24 for a large bird. Remove bird from brine at least a couple of hours before cooking and rinse thoroughly. Refrigerate uncovered until cooking time – this will help dry out the skin so it can crisp up during roasting. You may add herbs or other spices to give the skin flavor… I used thyme, sage, pepper, and butter. Be sure to pat the skin dry before rubbing with spices.

The turkey is never complete without the cranberry sauce on the side! While canned cranberries have their place, I much prefer fresh made cranberry sauce! Here is my recipe for my Apple Cranberry Sauce.

Apple Cranberry Sauce
1 12oz bag fresh cranberries
1 ½ cups peeled and diced apple (about the same size of cranberries)
1 ¼ – 1 ½ cup sugar – to taste
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, but start with only 1 cup of sugar. You can always add more later! Heat over medium low heat until apples are tender and cranberries have burst. Sauce will be fairly thick. Taste for sweetness, then add additional as necessary. I used about 1 1/3 cups sugar with mine batch. Stir to dissolve additional sugar, and then cool. Serve chilled or at room temperature. No thickening is necessary, as both the apples and the cranberries contain pectin that will naturally thicken the sauce!

Cranberries, apples, sugar, and aromatic spices

This cranberry sauce if so versatile! The apples absorb the colors from the cranberries and make this sauce so elegant. I love using leftovers in different ways and this cranberry sauce recipe is great in many things! Think cheesecakes, trifles, on sandwiches, pureed and used in cocktails… so many uses!
Finished Apple Cranberry Sauce

I hope you enjoy these recipes! And, thank you all for supporting me in this blogging endeavor!