One of our most loyal readers, Clara Nething of Canton, Ohio, wants to try something new for Thanksgiving — a brined, roasted turkey.
Brining infuses flavor into the bird, but the main effect is tenderizing. This one is guaranteed to fall off the bones. After brining, roast your turkey as usual.
2 quarts vegetable stock
3/4 cup Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 quarts cold water
Combine vegetable stock, salt, sugar and herbs over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, add cold water and cool to room temperature.
Place turkey in a large, non-metallic container. Pour brine over top, cover and refrigerate. Brine for 1 hour per pound.
Rinse all the brine off the turkey before roasting, using your favorite recipe.
Notes: Green beans make an excellent vegetable stock, and you’ll have your vegetable ready in advance. The herbal flavoring will be slight and is optional.
TomM from Middlesex County, Mass., emails: “My family is weary of the mushroom soup-green bean casserole. Is there any option here?”
There is. Forget the soup, and make your own fresh mushroom sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon flour
Half and half
1/2 teaspoon tarragon, dried
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
Salt and white pepper
Melt butter, add mushrooms and onions and sauté until tender. Remove them and whisk in flour to form a ball. Cook on medium for 1 minute — do not brown. Slowly add half and half, whisking until sauce reaches the consistency of soup. Return mushrooms and onions and simmer 5 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings. Do not boil.
Pour over 11/2 pound fresh green beans in casserole. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, uncovered, or until bubbly. Garnish with bread croutons fried in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 cloves garlic, finely minced.
For a richer sauce, add a quarter cup of dry, white wine before the half and half.
Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.